Estimating the population of survivors of suicide: seeking an evidence base

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2011 Feb;41(1):110-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1943-278X.2010.00009.x.


Shneidman (1973) derived an estimate of six survivors for every suicide that, in the ensuing years, has become an assumed fact underlying public health messaging campaigns in support of suicide prevention and postvention programs worldwide, in spite of it lacking either empirical testing or validation. This report offers a first test designed to derive estimates of suicide survivors and raises an array of empirical questions needing further study to reasonably address the impact of suicide on others.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Spouses
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult