Suicide is when people direct violence at themselves with the intent to end their lives and they die because of their actions.
A suicide attempt is when people harm themselves with the intent to end their lives, but they do not die because of their actions.
Suicide is never a personal failure. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide occurs when stressors exceed the current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Steps to reduce stressors and extending or gaining coping abilities are key to reducing the individual risk of suicide.
Facts and Stats
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students nationwide, and the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. For up-to-date statistics on prevalence, intersectional identities, and state-by-state data please visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide
More than 50 worldwide research studies concluded that certain types of media coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals. This increase is directly related to the duration and prominence of the suicide coverage. Some deaths by suicide may be newsworthy, but how we choose to speak about the issue is important. By using the best practices, members of the media are able to shift the influence in a positive direction by promoting help-seeking behaviors, sharing resources for those in crisis, and correcting public misconceptions about suicide. For more information and recommendations for reporting on suicide please visit Reportingonsuicide.org.
Resources and best practices for reporting on suicide
- Recommendations for reporting on suicide (Reportingonsuicide.org) – PDF – Short pdf with examples and instruction on how to report on suicide.
- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) – Tips for reporting on suicide, reporting on mass shootings, blogging on suicide.
- Framework for successful messaging (Action Alliance) – A framework for people messaging about suicide to help develop strategic, safe, and positive practices while making use of relevant guidelines and best practices.
- Link to the research (Reportingonsuicide.org) – A list of resources supporting the frameworks above.