Suicide – Basic Facts

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Presented by Ross J. Baldessarini, MD, McLean Hospital

In this talk, Baldessarini points out that while suicide rates have declined in much of the world in the past two decades, they have risen in the United States. Although no clear conclusions have been made, he says, the reasons for the increase are the topic of much important discussion.

Watch now to learn more about:

  • Suicide rates in U.S. populations
  • The link between firearms and suicide rates
  • Preventative measures, including medication

View the Slides

Baldessarini highlights several trends in suicide rates. In a review of several mental health disorders, the risk of suicide attempts is higher in women, while the risk of fatalities is higher in men. However, women are increasingly using more violent and lethal means to attempt suicide. Firearms continue to be a leading cause of suicide.

The leading risk factor for suicide is a previous attempt. Bipolar disorder, major depression, and alcohol misuse carry the highest risk of suicide among mental disorders.

Since release from the hospital and the post-discharge period is a high-risk time for patients, Baldessarini maintains that health care centers should prioritize linking inpatient and outpatient care.

He also points out that certain medications, such as clozapine for schizophrenia and lithium for bipolar disorder, may play key roles in reducing suicide and suicide attempts.