US methods of suicide

In the USA, there are three particularly popular methods of successful suicide: firearms, suffocation/hanging (likely to be largely hanging, but will also include carbon monoxide poisoning) and poisoning (commonly by drugs). Naturally, in the US, firearms are much easier to come by than other countries, hence their relative popularity in the US as a suicide method.

US methods of suicide 2012

US methods of suicide 2012

When it comes to successful suicide in the US, men account for 78% of all suicides. The popularity of the methods used also varies a little between the sexes. Whist for men firearms are by far the most popular, followed by suffocation/hanging and poisoning, women have poisoning as their most popular method, followed by firearms then suffocation/hanging. Given firearms are the most reliable method, and drug poisoning one of the least successful, that may account for some of the difference in actual suicide rates between the sexes. It is also interesting to note that women have 45% more non-fatal self-harm incidences than men.

The table below shows the relative popularity of each suicide method for both men and women in 2012. The top three methods account for over 90% of all suicides in the USA.

Method

Men

 

Women

 

All adults

Firearm

17,910

56.4%

 

2,756

31.2%

 

20,666

50.9%

Suffocation/hanging

8,016

25.2%

 

2,072

23.5%

 

10,088

24.8%

Poisoning

3,538

11.1%

 

3,191

36.2%

 

6,729

16.6%

Fall

695

2.2%

 

256

2.9%

 

951

2.3%

Cut/pierce

594

1.9%

 

136

1.5%

 

730

1.8%

Other Spec., classifiable

394

1.2%

 

112

1.3%

 

506

1.2%

Drowning

271

0.9%

 

161

1.8%

 

432

1.1%

Transportation related

125

0.4%

 

42

0.5%

 

167

0.4%

Fire/burn

106

0.3%

 

54

0.6%

 

160

0.4%

Other Spec., NEC

94

0.3%

 

30

0.3%

 

124

0.3%

Unspecified

37

0.1%

 

10

0.1%

 

47

0.1%

Total

31,780

 

 

8,820

 

 

40,600

 

Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) (fatal injuries report figures) http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10_us.html.