Suicide in Specific Communities
Some Populations Are At A Higher Risk
Certain communities and populations are at an increased risk for suicide due to various factors such as discrimination, health problems, and trauma. Suicide is preventable and being aware of the risk factors and protective factors can help us identify when a friend is struggling.
The LGBTQ+ Community: Surveys in the US consistently show that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth attempt suicide at higher rates than comparable non-LGBTQ peers. Suicide risk factors for LGBTQ people include depression, experiences of stigma and discrimination, and family rejection. Feeling accepted after “coming out” decreases suicide risk in LGBTQ youth.
The Trevor Project LGBTQ+ Suicide Hotline: 1-866-488-7386
Ages 45 and up: Middle-aged people, especially men, have the highest rate of suicide compared to other groups. 80% of all deaths by suicide in the U.S. are among men and women age 45-54. Many factors contribute to this risk, including isolation, a history of violence, and access to lethal means. Having connections to the community decreases risk in this population.
Native Americans: Young Native American men—especially in the Northern Plains—are at high risk for suicide compared to other groups. While many of the risk factors are the same as those affecting other groups, young American Indian men face additional challenges such as historical trauma, cultural distress, poverty, geographic isolation, and suicide in the community. Suicide risk has been found to decrease in Native youth when they feel connected to their culture.
Suicide Prevention Resources for Native Americans: wernative.org
Veterans: In 2017, the suicide rate for Veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-Veteran adults, after adjusting for population differences in age and sex. Experiences many Military members have such as witnessing violence, losing friends, injury, are all traumas that contribute to high suicide rates among veterans, as well as the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While more research is needed into protective factors for decreasing veteran suicide, the existing research suggests that socializing with fellow veterans decreases the likelihood of suicide.
Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
Sexual Assault Survivors: People who experienced sexual assault are about 10 times more likely to attempt suicide than peers who have not. Survivors of sexual violence are at an increased risk for developing depression, PTSD, substance use disorders, eating disorders and anxiety disorders. Feeling supported and believed by friends and family has been found to lower suicidality among survivors.
Rape Abuse Incest National Network Hotline: 800-656-HOPE
First Responders: Firefighters were reported to have higher suicide attempt and ideation rates than the general population. In law enforcement, the estimates suggest between 125 and 300 police officers commit suicide every year. Exposure to dangerous situations, death and injury, as well as long, physically exhausting hours contributes to mental health problems among first responders. Protective factors include resilience training, a good support system, and disaster preparedness.
Suicide Prevention Information for First Responders: https://www.sprc.org/settings/first-responders