Many Americans say they have experienced suicidal thoughts

Jamie BallardData Journalist
September 09, 2019, 4:00 PM GMT+0

September 8 marked the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week, which calls for people to learn about some of the potential warning signs of suicide and how they can support loved ones that may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.

Suicide is an issue for many Americans. New data from YouGov finds that nearly one-third (32%) of Americans comfortable answering questions about depression and suicide have experienced suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. Millennials (42%) are especially likely to report having suicidal thoughts.

Close to half (48%) of adults participating say that they know someone who has died by suicide. More than one in 10 (12%) report having attempted suicide themselves. Millennials (14%) and members of Generation X (17%) are at least twice as likely as Baby Boomers (7%) to say they’ve attempted suicide.

More than two-thirds (68%) of these Americans say they are confident they would know where to turn if they were experiencing suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis. A similar number (69%) are confident they would know where to turn if a friend or family member was experiencing these issues, while 53% are confident they could help a stranger having a mental health crisis.

In general, most feel that they have adequate access to resources for addressing mental health concerns.

About half (51%) believe mental health resources are somewhat or very available in their communities, while 57 percent see them as readily available within their state. A similar number of people (55%) say mental health resources are “somewhat” or “very” available in the United States overall.

Besides relying on outside mental health resources, advocacy organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which reviewed YouGov’s data, encourage people to learn how they can de-stigmatize conversations around suicide. The #BeThe1To campaign calls for people to educate themselves about actions we can all take to prevent suicide, from having open and honest conversations about suicide to ensuring that people feel connected to others.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat online here. If you’re looking for ways to support those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can learn more about the #BeThe1To campaign here.

See full results from this survey.

Methodology: Total unweighted sample size was 1,104 US adults who indicated they were comfortable answering questions about suicide. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (ages 18+). Interviews were conducted online between August 20 - 21, 2019.

Related: The best and worst cities in America for mental health clinics, according to residents

Image: The Gender Spectrum Collection

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