Understanding Suicide

Suicide Impacts Us All

You don’t have to fully understand suicide to prevent it. Awareness alone can turn into suicide prevention.  

If you’re here, you’re probably seeking answers and guidance about suicide. You may be curious and wanting to learn, processing a suicide that you’ve learned about, thinking about suicide yourself, or maybe you’ve lost someone to suicide. Suicide impacts us all, and it can be hard to understand. 

We all want to prevent suicide. It starts with talking about it. 

Suicide Happens Around the World

We don’t always hear about suicide, but it happens worldwide. Dying by suicide doesn’t discriminate. While there are some more at-risk groups, people from any religion, social class, race, gender, ethnicity, size, political affiliation, ability, occupation, age, or any classification you could think of die by suicide. This means suicide impacts us all. 

Mountain landscape with person's hand holding a globe

An estimated 703,000 people die by suicide worldwide each year. 

Map of US

Suicide is the 12th cause of death in the US.



Group of people in crowded city

For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide.


Why Suicide Happens  

Suicide is complex and personal, which can make it difficult to understand. There's usually not just one cause or reason someone attempts and/or dies by suicide.
Suicide is a result of a person’s unique combination of life experiences, background, coping skills, brain chemistry, support systems, and more. On the outside, some people can look like they “have it all” and still die by suicide.
It’s okay if you don’t fully understand suicide. You can still play a role in suicide prevention.   




Illustration of many different people's heads around the words "You know someone affected by suicide"

Terms to Know

Suicide Attempt

A nonfatal action taken with the intention of ending your life with that action in that moment. A suicide attempt may or may not result in injury. 

Rehearsal and Preparatory Acts

Actions taken to test out how a means of suicide might work or feel without necessarily having the intention to die in that moment. 

Suicidal Ideation

Thoughts related to death and suicide, including thinking about death, being better off dead, disappearing, or of suicide specifically. It may be passive or active and  can range from a fleeting thought about the purpose of one’s life to specific plans for suicide. 

Intent of Suicide

A person’s decision or motivation to act on a suicidal thought. A person can have suicidal thoughts without having intent of suicide.

Discover More

Suicide Warning Signs

Knowing what to look out for is the first step.


Myths & Facts

We're here to help clear some of the myths surrounding suicide. Knowing the facts is suicide prevention.

How To Talk About Suicide

Explore these tips on talking about suicide in a way that opens the line of communication, whether that’s with one person or many.


Get familiar with mental health and suicide prevention resources. The more you know, the more you can share.


The Time You Take Now Could Save Someone's Life

While every suicide cannot always be prevented, there are still many things each one of us can do to stop suicide. Suicide prevention is any action you take to stop a suicide from happening. It ranges from educating yourself about suicide and supporting mental health in your life and the lives of people around you to intervening in an emergency. 

Suicide Prevention Tips

Support the mental health of the people in your life. You can start by checking in regularly. 
If you’re concerned about someone’s wellbeing or safety, ask, “Are you thinking of suicide?” 
Get someone struggling to professional help.



Educate yourself about suicide. Choose one topic on this site that you’re curious about and learn more.  

Mental health concerns are prevalent among college students nationwide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults. We’re committed to suicide prevention on our campus. Find out more about what we’re doing and why.  

Suicide Prevention & Support Resources

We've collected lifelines, organizations, resources, guides, articles, online tools, and more so it's easier to help.

Suicide Prevention & Support Resources