Depression and Suicide

Depression and Suicide

Major depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most commonly associated with suicide. Although the majority of people that struggle with depression do not die by suicide, having depression does increase the risk for suicide.

We may feel sad, lonely, or depressed at times and feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss or struggles in life. But when these feelings become overwhelming and long-lasting, they can prevent a person from leading a normal, active life. It’s at this point that a person should seek help. Signs of depression may include changes in the following:

  • Increased or decreased sleep
  • Decline in sexual interest
  • Reduced interest in daily activities
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Low level of energy
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Reduced motivation or psychomotor activity level
  • Suicidal thoughts

Antidepressant medication may help to reduce depression and suicidal symptoms. Treatment of depression and suicide may also include counseling approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
Substance abuse is often seen in combination with depression and suicidal ideation or attempts. Successfully treating depression is only possible if coexisting substance abuse is also addressed.

Suicide and Depression fact sheet

The National Institute of Mental Health has a number of publications related to depression, including Older Adults: Depression and Suicide Facts and Suicide in America.