When?

When do People Take Their Lives?

A study of people who nearly died in a suicide attempt asked:

“How much time passed between the time you decided to complete suicide and when you actually attempted suicide?” (Simon 2001)

  • 24% said less than five minutes
  • Another 47% said an hour or less

Although some people who die by suicide plan their act carefully, many don’t. In fact, many take their lives within 24 hours of a crisis—like an argument with a family member or a relationship break-up.

The NVISS study found that one-third of youths who died by suicide had faced a crisis within 24 hours, according to the police or medical examiner investigation report.

Percentage of Suicides with a Crisis on the Same Day graph

Simon TR, Swann AC, Pwell KE, Potter LB, Kresnow M, and O’Carroll, PW. Characteristics of impulsive suicide attempts and attempters. SLTB. 2001; 32(supp): 49-59.