updated 9/17/2009 8:29:46 AM ET 2009-09-17T12:29:46

More than 8 million Americans seriously consider suicide each year, according to a new government study.

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About 32,000 suicides occur in the United States each year, but a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that many more give the idea serious thought.

The new SAMHSA report is based on a survey of 46,190 people aged 18 and older. In the past, the question about suicide had only been asked of people who reported major depression but in 2008 it was added to all questionnaires.

Other findings:

  • People 18 to 25 years old were far more likely to have seriously considered suicide in the previous year (6.7 percent) than those 26 to 49 (3.9 percent).
  • Just 2.3 percent seriously considered suicide among those 50 or older.
  • Among people with a substance abuse disorder, 11 percent had considered suicide, compared to 3 percent for people without such disorders.

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