What is the relationship between suicidal ideation, plans, and suicide attempts?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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In 2014, 9.4 million adults aged 18 years or older who responded to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported they had thought seriously about trying to kill themselves at any time during the past 12 months. Those who had serious thoughts of suicide were then asked whether they made a plan to kill themselves or tried to kill themselves in the past 12 months. Of the 9.4 million adults with serious thoughts of suicide, 2.7 million reported they had made suicide plans, and 1.1 million made a nonfatal suicide attempt. Among the 1.1 million adults who attempted suicide in the past year, 0.9 million reported making suicide plans, and 0.2 million did not make suicide plans. Nearly one third of adults who had serious thoughts of suicide made suicide plans, and about 1 in 9 adults who had serious thoughts of suicide made a suicide attempt. In other words, more than two thirds of adults in 2014 who had serious thoughts of suicide did not make suicide plans, and 8 out of 9 adults who had serious thoughts of suicide did not attempt suicide. This data show that suicidal thoughts can serve as an indicator of suicidal plans and attempts. [119]


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