Suicide (self-inflicted death) occurs in all
parts of the world. Suicide causes about half of all deaths due to violence.
Approximately 1 million persons die each year worldwide from suicide. Suicide
is the third leading cause of death among persons aged 15 to 24 years in the
United States, following unintentional injuries and homicide. Suicide is often
preventable. Warning signs are often present, and individuals who talk about
killing themselves must be taken seriously. Mental illness is present in most
persons who die by suicide. Treating these mental illnesses can help to decrease
the number of deaths by suicide. Suicide affects not only the person who dies
but also his or her entire social structure—family, friends, and acquaintances.
The May 25, 2005, issue of JAMA includes a report
of surveys about suicidal thoughts and behaviors in persons living in the