Specific Populations


Veterans account for 11.5% of New York State suicides. The rate of suicide among this population continues to increase, reaching 29.1 per 100,000 population in 2014, with the highest rate among young veterans 18-34 years old (64.5 per 100,000 population).  Some of the factors that contribute to higher risk include deployment, co-occurring mental health conditions, alcohol or other drug use, and time away from family.  

Nationally, suicide rates are higher among those who do not access services within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). While many receive services within the New York State VHA, some are not eligible or choose not to access these services.

If you are a veteran in crisis, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (PRESS #1).






According to the 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 59.2% of New York State LGB high school students felt sad or hopeless, 40.8% seriously considered suicide, 25.8% attempted suicide, and 10.1% made a suicide attempt that required medical attention in the 12 months prior to the survey.  These self-reported numbers are statistically significantly greater than those reported by their heterosexual peers. New York City LGBTQ+ youth who have experienced rejection by their families are 8.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide than those with no or low levels of rejection. One in three transgender youth in New York City have seriously considered suicide, and two in five report having attempted suicide in the past 12 months.

Individuals identifying as LGBTQ are at elevated risk for a variety of reasons:

  • Undue stress and internalization of anti-LGBTQ sentiments resulting from residual stigma
  • Harassment, discrimination, and bias among peers, family, colleagues, schools, workplaces, health care, and the community
  • A history of depression, anxiety, and/or alcohol or drug misuse
  • Victimization including bullying and abuse

If you’re in crisis, call the Trevor Project’s free, 24/7 LGBTQ crisis intervention phone line at 1-866-488-7386 or use TrevorText by texting ‘START” to 678-678. You may also call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text ‘Got5’ to 741-741 for the 24/7 Crisis Text Line. In New York City, you may call 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355).

Other Resources

LGTBQ+ Youth Resources

View resources, recorded webinars and trainings, and toolkits that focus on helping prevent suicide in our LGBTQ+ youth community.

Click Here

Middle-aged Men

Middle-aged men are one of the highest risk groups in New York State and nationally.  The suicide rate among men 50-59 is approximately 21 per 100,000 population in New York, almost three times the state average.  The rate jumps to approximately 26 per 100,000 population among White middle-aged men.

Reasons for increased risk include:

  • The use of firearms, the most lethal means for suicide
  • Employment, financial, and/or legal problems – especially among those approaching retirement – are more common among this group
  • Men are less likely to seek out and utilize behavioral health treatment.  Reasons for this may include reluctance to acknowledge a behavioral health problem, failure of clinicians to recognize depression among men, perception that services are not effective, and perceived stigma.



The suicide rate among New Yorkers 75 and older is 8.6 per 100,000 population; it is 19.5 per 100,000 population among men in this age group.  The highest risk age group in New York State and nationally is men 85 and older, at 24 per 100,000 population.

Suicide attempts by older adults are much more likely to result in death, as older adults plan more carefully and use more deadly methods, are frailer and less likely to recover from an attempt, and are less likely to be discovered and rescued.

For more information and resources, visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Older Adult resource pageClick here for your local Office for the Aging.

American Indians/Alaskan Natives

Nationally, American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have the second highest age-adjusted suicide rate of all racial/ethnic groups at 13.4 per 100,000 population, only slightly lower than the rate among Whites (15.9 per 100,000 population).  AI/AN youth and younger adults ages 15-34 have the highest suicide rate of all racial ethnic youth and young adult groups, soaring to 25.9 per 100,000 population for 25-34 year olds.  

Risk in AI/AN populations may stem from high rates of alcohol or other drug misuse, mental health problems, intergenerational trauma, low socioeconomic status, lack of resources, and issues within native communities.  Factors which reduce risk include a strong tribal/spiritual bond, social support, and a sense of cultural belonging.


Trends Among Youth

Latina Adolescents

In New York State and nationally, it has been historically observed that Latina adolescents have a higher rate of suicide attempts than non-Latina white and black female adolescents.4 Researchers have identified a number of risk and protective factors in connection to the higher rate of suicide attempts among Latina adolescents. Please see the background materials linked below for more information.

Life is Precious, by Comunilife, is a community-based program that strengthens protective factors and aims to eliminate suicide among Latina adolescents. Based in New York City, this program provides culturally and linguistically appropriate services for Latina teens who are living with depression and/or have seriously considered or attempted suicide, and their families.

Background materials

Black Youth

Though suicide is rare among elementary-age children (ages 5-11), Black children in this age group are thought to die by suicide at twice the rate of white children. Among high school students nationwide, while self-reported thoughts of suicide and attempts decreased between 1991 and 2017, significant increases were found on those measures among Black students. Moreover, New York State data revealed increases in self-reported feelings of sadness and hopelessness and suicide attempts among black high school students between 2013 and 2017. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide Prevention and Mental Health released Ring the Alarm:  The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America.  The report outlines mental health trends among Black youth and recommends policies to address it.


Individuals with Justice System Involvement

Suicide is a leading cause of death within jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities.  Between 2000 and 2012, the average suicide rate was 41 per 100,000 population for adult inmates in jails.  The rate increased to 80 per 100,000 for White inmates and 86 per 100,000 for inmates not yet convicted.

Youth who have had contact with the juvenile justice system, even those with “light touches” who remain in the community, are at increased risk for suicide.  Screening and early interventions for suicide risk and upstream risk factors such as depression and alcohol and other drug misuse, as well as diversion to behavioral health settings delivering suicide safer care, are critical for this population.  The risk becomes much more severe once incarcerated. Among incarcerated youth age 17 and younger, the rate of death by suicide was 49 per 100,000.

For more information and resources on suicide prevention for the criminal and juvenile justice systems, visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention dedicated justice system webpages.  Visit the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, located in the New York State Capital Region, for more information about addressing mental health, substance use, and suicide within juvenile justice populations.  

Postpartum Mothers and Fathers

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among postpartum women, accounting for one in five postpartum deaths.  Nationally, one in nine women experience postpartum depression. Fathers may also experience depression following the birth of their child.  Approximately 4% experience it within the first year after their child’s birth, and 20% will have experienced at least one episode by a child’s 12th birthday.  Younger fathers with a history of depression who have financial difficulties are at greatest risk.

For more information, visit the New York State Office of Mental Health maternal depression page, the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, or Mom’s Mental Health Matters.  If you’re in crisis, call the Parental Stress Hotline at 1-800-632-8188. You may also call the Postpartum Support International (PSI) HelpLine at 1-800-944-4773 or text 503-894-9453.

Rural Communities

Rural areas face a disproportionately high risk of suicide, compared with urban areas, and suicide rates in rural areas have been trending in the wrong direction in recent decades. Within rural areas, certain populations face higher risk than others, based on socio-demographic and occupational characteristics. There are many ways to address rural suicide risk, including at the individual, community, and societal level. Ideally, intervention will happen at multiple levels and must be informed by rural community members themselves.

In late 2019, OMH convened a workgroup of experts in suicide prevention and/or service delivery in rural areas from across the state. The workgroup was tasked with developing recommendations to inform prevention efforts at both the state and county level. Those recommendations were informed by monthly workgroup meetings, and data collected from surveys of rural schools and providers, as well as county focus groups. Given the unique blend of risk and protective factors in every rural county, all recommendations need to be tailored to meet the needs of the individual county.

View the Rural Suicide Prevention in New York: Overview Report and Recommendations for County and State Partners 

Multicultural Considerations

As a state with great cultural and ethnic diversity, it is important to understand unique factors that may increase risk among minority cultures.  Factors may include:

  • Trying to assimilate to a new culture
  • Challenges accessing and receiving quality care
  • Higher levels of stigma
  • Cultural beliefs regarding suicide, mental health, and help-seeking
  • A culturally insensitive health care system
  • Language barriers
  • Lack of health insurance
  • Being a victim of or witnessing a hate crime, or a crime that is motivated by the offender’s bias against a race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability
  • Experiencing discrimination, or the unlawful and intentional act of unfair treatment of a person based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, or age
  • Being a victim of microaggressions, or intentional or unintentional daily forms of disrespect including snubs and put-downs

Consequently, individuals from minority cultures who may be exhibiting multiple feelings and emotions including stress, sadness, fear, and violence, may cope by avoiding others different from themselves. As such, those experiencing suicidal thoughts may not seek out services, particularly those delivered by professionals who are different from them.  Therefore, as a state and a nation, we must train a more diverse workforce that understands and respects the cultural values and needs of our patients, clients, and communities when conducting outreach and delivering mental health and suicide prevention programs. The resources below will direct you to more culturally competent approaches to suicide prevention: