It's 12:03 a.m. and
10 people
have committed suicide today in America.

About this project

There were 38,364 suicides in the United States in 2010, according to most recent statistics. That's nearly 5,000 more deaths than occurred in traffic accidents.

Despite the pervasiveness, suicide is generally not part of the public discourse. Mainstream media do not routinely report when someone takes their life in private. Only suicides committed in public or those of the famous generally receive coverage.

This is a look at the complexity of suicide and the impact it has on those left behind.

Read the stories: After suicide: All that's left is 'Why?'  |  Dealing with the darkest thoughts of suicide
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Lenier Allen lives with suicidal ideation but has never followed through with those thoughts because of how his brother's suicide affected the family. "Suicide is not the answer," Mr. Allen says. "Somebody out there somewhere is affected by your actions." Instead, he sought out therapy and believes it makes him stronger and more able to cope with his feelings.
For every successful suicide,
25 people try.
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Rita McWilliams' 29-year old daughter, Karla, committed suicide on Nov. 20, 2012, after struggling with depression for 16 years. Rita, reflected in a mirror in Karla's bedroom, holds a locket that reminds her of her daughter.
Sam McWilliams holds a favorite photograph of his daughter, Karla, who was 29 when she committed suicide. Karla, a model, struggled with severe depression from the time she was 13.
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Michael Unglo's suicide left a void in his sister Fran Samber's life. Michael, who was abused by a priest from fifth through eighth grade, didn't talk about the abuse until he after he attempted suicide at age 37. He killed himself on May 4, 2010.
More soldiers have committed suicide than were
killed in action
in the war in Afghanistan last year.
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The day Grant Taylor committed suicide "our hearts were ripped out, and they do heal but there is so much scar tissue our lives will never be the same," says his father, Keith Taylor. Suzanne, Grant's mother, says the couple had to find a "new normal" without their youngest son.
Grant Taylor, 17, a senior at Norwin High School, was part of the show choir and varsity wrestling team before he shot and killed himself on Nov. 1, 2011. His parents, Keith and Suzanne Taylor, said part of them died the day he did.
Suicides outnumber homicides
two to one.
"I do love you ..." wrote John Kowalewski on his suicide note. He killed himself on Jan. 18, 2002, leaving behind his wife, Jill, and two young sons.
The pine oak tree in Michael Vernon's backyard is a symbol of his mother's constant presence in his life 18 years after she committed suicide. Mr. Vernon bottled up his emotions for many years before he began therapy and attending support groups for survivors of suicide. He now plans to start his own survivors support group near his home in Ligonier.
A photograph of Mike Vernon and his mother, Nancy, at his first wedding in 1989. She committed suicide in 1995.

Suicides in Allegheny County

Source: Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner
Developer: Laura Malt Schneiderman


Rebecca Droke | Photos and video

Michael A. Fuoco | Stories

Laura Malt Schneiderman | Interactive map

Andrew McGill | Design