Methods of Suicide

The choice of method is often influenced by cultural factors and availability of the means to commit suicide (for example, a gun).

It may or may not reflect the seriousness of intent.

Some methods (such as jumping from a tall building) make survival virtually impossible, whereas other methods (such as overdosing on drugs) make rescue possible.

However, even if an individual uses a method that proves not to be fatal, the intent may have been just as serious as that of an individual whose method was fatal.

Suicide attempts most often involve drug overdose and self-poisoning. Violent methods, such as shooting and hanging, are uncommon among suicide attempts because they usually result in death.

Most completed suicides involve guns. In the United States, guns are used in about 50% of suicides. Men use this method more than women.

Other methods include:

  • Hanging;
  • Poisoning;
  • Jumping from a height; and
  • Cutting.

Some methods, such as driving off a cliff, can endanger others.

Worldwide, poisoning with pesticides accounts for about 30% of completed suicides.

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