The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that in 2014, “3.9 percent of American adults aged 18 and older thought seriously about killing themselves during the past 12 months. During this same period, 1.1 percent of adults made suicide plans, and 0.5 percent of adults made non-fatal attempts at suicide.” Among these adults, those with substance use disorders or major depressive episodes were at a greater risk of suicide than the general public. However, adults with major depressive episodes are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and attempts than those with substance use issues.

In the same report, SAMHSA finds that since 2008, the number of adults with serious suicidal thoughts has remained fairly stable.

“We can help prevent suicide through effective, science-based services,” said Acting SAMHSA Administrator Kana Enomoto.  “There are programs in place to save lives and help people out of their despair and toward a brighter future. By reaching out to people contemplating suicide -- everyone – family, friends, teachers, faith community leaders, co-workers, healthcare providers -- can make a positive difference.”

SAMHSA lists the following warning signs to determine if you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

If you or anyone you know is at risk for suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can read the full SAMHSA article here.