Many people commit suicide

numbers and facts

  • Depression is not a character weakness. It's not a whimsy either. It's a disease.

    Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, presenter and actor
    Photo: Tom Wagner


There is not much public talk about depression and suicide. They are taboo subjects. The result is that most people know far too little about depression and suicide. Therefore a lot of nonsense is still being told. Facts get mixed up with falsehoods. Here you will find a lot of information and numbers.

Depression is easy to treat.

Depression is a complex disease that affects feelings, behavior, and social life. The good news is that something can be done about it. With psychological and medical support, there is a high chance that depression can be treated successfully. The earlier help is sought, the easier it is to overcome depression.

Thoughts of suicide are to be taken seriously.

It is wrong to believe that people who speak of suicide never will! If a friend has thoughts of suicide, encourage them to speak up and seek professional help.

5.3 million people affected in Germany.

In Germany around 5.3 million people suffer from a depressive disorder. Compared to other EU countries, German citizens show symptoms that indicate depression more often. Younger people in Germany also have symptoms of depression more often than the average for the EU member states.

Almost 10,000 suicide victims annually in Germany.

In Germany, almost 10,000 people take their own lives every year. Around 520 of the victims are adolescents and young adults. Although the suicide rate in Germany has fallen since the 1980s, it has remained at a consistently high level in recent years.

264 million people affected. Worldwide.

Depression affects 264 million people worldwide. Although effective treatments exist, between 76% and 85% of people do not receive treatment due to lack of resources, lack of trained health care providers, and stigma surrounding mental health disorders.

100,000 suicide attempts annually in Germany.

100,000 to 150,000 Germans attempt suicide every year. It is noticeable that suicide attempts are often made by young women. In addition, about one in three tries not just to take their own life once, but makes another attempt.

Every third emergency doctor call.

Every third emergency doctor mission has to do with mental crises.

Second leading cause of death in young people.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 29. In 2018, 517 adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 committed suicide.

35 percent seek professional help.

Out of 100 sick people, around 35 are currently looking for professional help. However, this also means that a large proportion of the people who need professional help do not receive it. The good news is that the inhibition of seeking help has decreased in recent years.

Every 56 minutes someone dies of suicide.

In Germany, someone takes their own life about every 56 minutes. Experts estimate that someone tries about every 5 minutes.

Suicidality can occur with all mental illnesses. There is a particularly close connection between suicidality and depression: around 60% of people who commit suicide had severe depression. But that percentage drops drastically when they get professional help.

More deaths than accidents, drugs and AIDS.

In Germany, significantly more people die from suicide than from traffic accidents, drugs and HIV combined.

Increase in young people.

Young adults between 15 and 34 are increasingly affected by mental health problems such as anxiety disorders and depression.

Men are more likely to die attempting suicide.

Boys and men are more likely to actually commit suicide. One possible explanation for this is that they resort to the harder methods when attempting suicide and are therefore less likely to be rescued.

Risk factors include low self-esteem, traumatic events, depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicide in the family, alcohol and drug abuse, and chronic illnesses.

Women commit more suicide attempts.

Almost two thirds of all suicides are committed by men. The rate of suicide attempts, on the other hand, is much higher among girls and women. While women are more likely to try to commit suicide, men are more likely to use more lethal methods.

Women are affected twice as often.

Women are twice as likely to be depressed as men. Although this finding has been confirmed in numerous studies, the reasons for the gender-specific difference are still unclear. Why women are more prone to depression could be hormonal differences and sociological factors such as gender inequality and female oppression.

Six people directly affected by suicide.

About six people - relatives, friends, acquaintances - are directly affected by a suicide, and they often hardly know how to get on with life.

Do not seek help until after 11 months.

It takes an average of 11 months before people with depression seek medical help. It is important to seek help as soon as possible, because early-stage depression has a better chance of being treated quickly.

800,000 suicide victims annually. Worldwide.

According to estimates by the World Health Organization, around 800,000 people commit suicide around the world every year. This corresponds to almost 2,160 suicides per day.

In most cases, antidepressants are not addictive.

Antidepressants are not addicting like alcohol or drugs. This means that a person taking antidepressants will not experience cravings if they are not given their daily dose. However, antidepressants can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headache, panic attacks, confusion if the intake is suddenly stopped. The correct type and amount under medical supervision is an effective and relatively safe way to fight depression.

Eight out of ten sufferers announce suicide.

In eight out of ten cases, the person concerned announces his suicidal intent in advance. What to Look For: Warning Signs It is wrong to believe that people who speak of suicide will not do it. But it is also wrong to believe that a person who is determined to take his own life can no longer be dissuaded from his intentions.

Depression rarely comes alone.

Over 60 percent of people suffering from depression also suffer from another mental illness. The most common are substance use disorders, anxiety and personality disorders. Depression is also more common in people with pre-existing physical illnesses.

80 percent are aware of suicidal thoughts.

80% of all German citizens have already toyed with the idea of ​​killing themselves. To some extent, these thoughts are a normal part of life and do not necessarily indicate suicidal behavior. But persistent thoughts of suicide are a warning sign.

We have this data from the “Federal Statistical Office of the Federal Republic of Germany”, the “Alliance against Depression”, the “World Health Organization (WHO)”, the “Competence Network for Depression” and the “Chamber of Psychotherapists NRW”.


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