Suicide Rates Vary by Region: CDC

Younger Americans, women more likely to think about taking their lives

THURSDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- There's a suicide every 15 minutes in the United States, and for every person who takes his or her own life there are many more who think about, plan or attempt suicide, according to a federal report released Thursday.

The analysis of 2008-09 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that rates of serious thoughts of suicide range from about 1 in 50 adults in Georgia (2.1 percent) to 1 in 15 in Utah (6.8 percent). Rates of suicide attempts range from 1 in 1,000 adults in Delaware and Georgia (0.1 percent) to 1 in 67 in Rhode Island (1.5 percent).

Overall, more than 2.2 million adults (1.0 percent) reported making suicide plans in the past year, and more than 1 million (0.5 percent) said they attempted suicide in the past year, according to the researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Young adults (ages 18 to 29) were much more likely than adults aged 30 and older to have suicidal thoughts, make suicide plans and attempt suicide. Rates of serious suicidal thoughts were much higher among women than men, the report found.

Suicide rates were consistently higher in western states, especially the Rocky Mountain states, according to the report. It found that adults in the Midwest and West were more likely to have suicidal thoughts than adults in the Northeast and South, and adults in the Midwest were more likely to make suicide plans than those in the South. Suicide attempts did not vary by region.

"Multiple factors contribute to risk for suicidal behavior. The variations identified in this report might reflect differences in the frequency of risk factors and the social and economic makeup of the study populations," Linda C. Degutis, director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in an agency news release.

"These differences can influence the types of prevention strategies used in communities and the groups included," she explained.

SAMHSA Administrator Pam Hyde said: "Suicide is a preventable tragedy. With this new data we will be able to work more effectively to reach people at risk and help keep them safe. For people in need, help is always available by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about suicide prevention.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 20, 2011

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