September 17, 2009

2008: 8.3 million had thoughts of suicide

More than 8 million U.S. adults, or 3.7 percent of the U.S. adult population, had serious thoughts of committing suicide in the past year, researchers say.

The study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also shows that 2.3 million adult Americans made a suicide plan in the past year. In addition, 1.1 million adults had actually attempted suicide in the past year, the study says.

The 2008 data was drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which obtained responses from 46,190 people aged 18 or older.

Young adults ages 18-25 were far more likely to have seriously considered suicide in the past year than those age 26-49 and nearly three times more likely than those ages 50 or older.

People experiencing substance abuse disorders within the past year were more than three times as likely to have seriously considered committing suicide as those who had not experienced a substance abuse disorder.

Those with past year substance abuse disorders were also four times more likely to have planned a suicide than those without substance abuse disorders, and nearly seven times more likely to have attempted suicide.

The study also revealed that adult females had marginally higher levels of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than males in the past year.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.