PTSD Related Conditions The Connection Between PTSD and Suicide By Matthew Tull, PhD Matthew Tull, PhD Twitter Matthew Tull, PhD is a professor of psychology at the University of Toledo, specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 22, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Information presented in this article may be triggering to some people. If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. In the United States, more than 40,000 people commit suicide each year. Although women attempt suicide more so than men, men are more likely to die by suicide. People who have experienced a traumatic event and/or have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be more likely to attempt suicide. Trauma, PTSD, and Suicide In a survey of 5,877 people across the United States, it was found that people who had experienced physical or sexual assault in their life also had a high likelihood of attempting to take their own life at some point: Nearly 22% of people who had been raped had also attempted suicide at some point in their life. In another study of adolescent girls who had been sexually abused, 46% reported having suicidal thoughts within the last three months. Approximately 23% of people who had experienced a physical assault had also attempted suicide at some point in their life. These rates of suicide attempts increased considerably among people who had experienced multiple incidents of sexual (42.9%) or physical assault (73.5%). They also found that a history of sexual molestation, physical abuse as a child, and neglect as a child were associated with high rates of suicide attempts (17.4% to 23.9%) The National Comorbidity Survey-Replication found that sexual trauma and non-sexual physical violence were linked to more severe and chronic presentation of PTSD symptoms. People with a diagnosis of PTSD are also at greater risk to attempt suicide. Among people who have had a diagnosis of PTSD at some point in their lifetime, approximately 27% have also attempted suicide. Another large-scale survey found that 24% of military personnel diagnosed with PTSD had experienced suicidal thinking within the past year. Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Suicide There Is Hope: Seeking Help Experiencing a traumatic event and/or developing PTSD can have a tremendous impact on a person's life. The symptoms of PTSD can make a person feel constantly afraid and isolated. In addition, depression is common following a traumatic event and among people with PTSD. A person may feel as though there is no hope or escape from their symptoms, leading them to contemplate suicide. It is important to realize that even though it may feel as though there is no hope, recovery and healing is possible. If you are having thoughts of ending your life or if you know someone who is having these thoughts, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. 6 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Hedegaard H, Curtin SC, Warner M. Suicide mortality in the United States, 1999–2017. NCHS Data Brief, no 330. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2018. Nock MK, Kessler RC. Prevalence of and risk factors for suicide attempts versus suicide gestures: analysis of the National Comorbidity Survey. J Abnormal Psychology. 2006;115(3):616-623. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.115.3.616 Alix S, Cossette L, Hébert M, Cyr M, Frappier JY. Posttraumatic stress disorder and suicidal ideation among sexually abused adolescent girls: the mediating role of shame. J Child Sex Abus. 2017;26(2):158–174. doi:10.1080/10538712.2017.1280577 Smith HL, Summers BJ, Dillon KH, Cougle JR. Is worst-event trauma type related to PTSD symptom presentation and associated features?. J Anxiety Disord. 2016;38:55-61. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.01.007 Ramsawh HJ, Fullerton CS, Mash HB, et al. Risk for suicidal behaviors associated with PTSD, depression, and their comorbidity in the U.S. Army. J Affect Disord. 2014;161:116-22. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2014.03.016 Flory JD, Yehuda R. Comorbidity between post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder: alternative explanations and treatment considerations. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015;17(2):141–150. By Matthew Tull, PhD Matthew Tull, PhD is a professor of psychology at the University of Toledo, specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for PTSD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.