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the day after


failed suicide attempt

Failed suicide attempts comprise a large portion of suicide attempts. Some are regarded as not true attempts at all, but rather parasuicide. The usual attempt may be a wish to affect another person by the behavior. Consequently, it occurs in a social context and may represent a request for help. The distress is misdirected: The behavior is an act of desperation. Some suicide methods have higher rates of failure than others; e.g. wrist-slashing has a much higher failure rate than use of firearms, which has only a 10% failure rate. 75% of all suicide attempts are by the use of drugs, a method that is often thwarted by using non-lethal drugs or non-lethal dosages. These people are found alive 97% of the time. There is an often-told but probably-apocryphal story of a man who failed to kill himself by hanging, poisoning, drowning, self-immolation and gunshot wound simultaneously. About one-third of people who attempt suicide will repeat the attempt within 1 year, and about 10% of those who threaten or attempt suicide eventually do kill themselves.

Failed suicide attempts may lead to permanent injury and disfigurement, as when A. .J. Reed attempted to kill himself with a shotgun and destroyed most of his face. 300,000 (or more) Americans a year survive a suicide attempt. A majority have injuries minor enough to need no more than emergency room treatment. However, about 116,000 are hospitalized, of whom 110,000 are eventually discharged alive. Their average hospital stay is 10 days; the average cost is $15,000. Seventeen percent, some 19,000, of these people are permanently disabled, restricted in their ability to work, each year, at a cost of $127,000 per person.

On the other hand, a study has found that after people attempt suicide and fail, their incomes increase by an average of 20.6 percent compared to peers who seriously contemplate suicide but never make an attempt. In fact, the more serious the attempt, the larger the boost´┐Ż"hard-suicide" attempts, in which luck is the only reason the attempts fail, are associated with a 36.3 percent increase in income.