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Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among U.S. Adults

Figure 7 is a bar chart showing the prevalence of suicidal thoughts among adults age 18 and older in the United States for 2014. Prevalence data are shown for the overall population, by sex, by age, and by race/ethnicity.

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  • Figure 8 shows that in 2014, 9.4 million adults aged 18 or older reported having serious thoughts about trying to kill themselves, and 1.1 million adults aged 18 or older attempted suicide during the past year. Among those adults who attempted suicide, 0.9 million also reported making suicide plans.
Figure 8 is a Venn diagram where the outer circle represents the number in millions of adults who had serious thoughts of committing suicide and the overlapping inner circles represent the following categories of suicidal thoughts and behavior: (1) made suicide plans, (2) attempted suicide, (3) made plans and attempted suicide, and (4) made no plans and attempted suicide.

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NSDUH Statistical Methods and Measurement

    Population:
  • The survey participants are from a civilian, non-institutionalized population aged 18 years old or older residing within the United States. NSDUH does not ask adolescents aged 12 to 17 about suicidal thoughts and behavior.
  • The survey covers residents of households (persons living in houses/townhouses, apartments, condominiums; civilians living in housing on military bases, etc.) and persons in non-institutional group quarters (e.g., shelters, rooming/boarding houses, college dormitories, migratory workers' camps, and halfway houses).
  • The survey does not cover persons who, for the entire year, had no fixed address (e.g., homeless and/or transient persons not in shelters); were on active military duty; or who resided in institutional group quarters (e.g., correctional facilities, nursing homes, mental institutions, long-term hospitals).
    Survey Non-response:
  • In 2014, 29.7% of the NSDUH adult sample did not complete the interview.
  • Reasons for non-response to interviewing include: refusal to participate (21.6%); respondent unavailable or no one at home/not answering the door (3.3%); physical/mental incompetence or language barriers (3.8%).
  • People with suicidal behavior may disproportionately fall into these non-response categories. While NSDUH weighting includes non-response adjustments to reduce bias, these adjustments may not fully account for differential non-response by suicide behavior status.

Please see the 2014 SAMHSA NSDUH Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior among Adults report for further information on how these data were collected and calculated.