Behavioral Health

About Suicide

When people end their lives by suicide, the effects ripple outward to family, friends, coworkers, and communities. Rates of suicide have risen across the United States in recent years. Our goal is to stem the rate so that fewer Arizonans become part of these statistics.

Help in many forms is available to individuals considering suicide. If you're in a crisis, call 988 for the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to get support now.

Closeup shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands in comfort

Did you know?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  • More than 48,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2021. That is 1 death every 11 minutes.
  • 12.3 million adults seriously thought about suicide, and 1.7 million adults attempted suicide.
  • Suicide was the second most common cause of death among people between the ages of 10-14 and 25-34, and the third leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35-44.
  • More than twice the number of Americans died by suicide than by homicide.
  • No one takes their life for a single reason. Life stresses combined with known risk factors, such as childhood trauma, substance use — or even chronic physical pain — can contribute to someone taking their life.
  • 90% of people who die by suicide have an underlying — and potentially treatable — mental health condition.

In Arizona

  • Suicide rate

    The 2021 Arizona suicide rate was 35% above the national rate of suicide that year.
  • A leading cause of death

    Suicide currently ranks 10th among the leading causes of death. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Arizonans ages 10-34.
  • Lives lost

    More than 1,500 Arizonans died by suicide in 2021, and 81% of them were male.

Warning signs

If someone you know admits to having suicidal thoughts, what would you say? What would you do? Those are very difficult questions for anyone to face —even a mental health professional. But as a friend or family member, you should know what to look for and how to respond.

Warning signs common to most suicides:

  • Talking about suicide and death, or being a burden to others
  • Drastic changes in behavior
  • Withdrawing from social interaction
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Family or peers who have recently attempted or died by suicide
  • Threatening or hinting at suicide
  • Tidying up his or her affairs: drawing up a will, giving away possessions
  • Sudden neglect in appearance
  • Sudden drug or alcohol abuse
  • Previous suicide attempts

"Behavior change is one of the biggest warning signs, whether it's being less attentive or changing eating or sleeping patterns. Some other common signs are giving away treasured things, not participating in activities they used to, and saying goodbye in a certain manner, not a 'see you later' goodbye but talking in relation to never seeing someone again or not being able to do something again. There are not always signs and symptoms, but if there are, it is important to notice them and try to help."

- Sharon Unterreiner, AZ Blue Director of Behavioral Health

Teen suicide

While suicide is a serious public health problem among all age groups, it's a leading cause of death for Arizona teenagers.