The pain of untreated depression is often so terrible that some sufferers would rather end their lives than continue to live through the torment. About 15 percent of people with unipolar major depression will attempt suicide each year, and about 15 percent of them will succeed. (This only includes the fraction of people whose deaths are reported as suicide.) The lifetime risk for suicide is higher in unipolar major depression than in schizophrenia or panic disorder depression is a potentially fatal illness.
Recent estimates suggest that the mortality from depression is second only to cancer in some areas. In addition to suicide, if we add in all the fatalities from motor vehicle crashes, falls, poisoning, and other accidents that accompany depression, the number of depression deaths is much higher.