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Suicide The Silent Epidemic


For 15-24 year olds, suicide is the third leading cause of death, 86% male, ... classroom includes one boy and two girls who attempted suicide in the past year. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Suicide The Silent Epidemic

Suicide The Silent Epidemic
  • Kevin Thompson
  • Director of Health Promotion
  • Weber-Morgan Health Department

National Suicide Facts
  • Suicide took the lives of 30,622 Americans in
  • Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the
    United States.
  • For 15-24 year olds, suicide is the third leading
    cause of death, 86 male, 14 female.
  • Suicide rates are higher than the national
    average in the intermountain states, including
    Utah, lower in the eastern and midwestern states.

National Suicide Facts
  • Suicide by firearms is the most common method for
    both men and women, accounting for 55 of all
  • Males are four times more likely to die from
    suicide than females.
  • 72 of all suicides are committed by white men.
  • 79 of all firearm suicides are committed by
    white men.

Attempted Suicides
  • In 2001, 132,353 individuals were hospitalized
    following suicide attempts, 116,639 were treated
    in emergency rooms and released.
  • There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides to
    one completion.
  • Women report attempting suicide during the
    lifetime about three times as often as men.

Youth Suicide in Perspective
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for
    adolescents and young adults.
  • Since peaking in the early 1990s, suicide rates
    have fallen sharply for most adolescents.
  • Within the past 12 months
  • One in five adolescents seriously considered
    attempting suicide
  • One in six made a specific suicide plan
  • One in 12 attempted suicide
  • A typical U.S. high school classroom includes one
    boy and two girls who attempted suicide in the
    past year.

Suicide Among the Elderly
  • The highest suicide rates of any age group occur
    among persons aged 65 and older.
  • The elderly have a higher prevalence of
    depression, are more socially isolated, more
    frequently use highly lethal methods, make fewer
    attempts per completed suicide, have a higher
    male-to-female ration, have often visited a
    health-care provider before their suicide, and
    have more physical illnesses.

Suicide Among the Elderly
  • It is estimated that 20 of elderly persons who
    commit suicide visited a physician within 24
    hours of their act, 41 within a week, and 75
    within a month.
  • Firearms account for 71 of elderly suicide
    followed by overdose (11) and suffocation (11)
  • In 1998, men accounted for 84 of elderly
    suicides. Among males aged 75 years the rate for
    divorced men was 3.4 times and widowed men was
    2.6 times that for married men.

Utah Suicide Facts
  • Utah has the 10th highest overall suicide rate in
    the U.S., 30 higher than U.S. rate.
  • Suicide is now the leading cause of death for
    males age 15-44 in Utah.
  • Demographically similar to U.S., 88 occur among
    males, 64 by firearm.
  • While Nevada has the highest overall suicide
    rate, Utah, Montana and Wyoming have the highest
    youth suicide rates.

Risk Factors
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide
  • History of mental disorders, particularly
  • History of alcohol and/or substance abuse
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Physical illness

Risk Factors
  • Loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities
  • Giving away cherished possessions
  • Morbid ideation
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and/or
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of stigma
  • Cultural and religious beliefs

Risk Factors
  • Recent loss (relational, social, work, or
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Barriers to accessing mental health services

Utah Youth Suicide StudyUtah Dept. of Health,
University of Utah College of Medicine, Primary
Childrens Medical Center, Utah Suicide
Prevention Task Force
  • Psychological Autopsies of 131 youth suicides
  • 65 had contact with the juvenile justice system
  • 41 had contact with DCFS
  • 21 had contact with Child Protective Services
  • 73 had contact with any agency
  • 47 had a past history of school suspension or
  • 39 had received a special education evaluation
  • 28 of school-age youth had dropped out of school

Utah Youth Suicide Study
  • Risk factors identified
  • Males are at higher risk
  • Contact with juvenile justice system increases
    risk 5 times
  • Behavioral problems in school increases risk
  • Intervention through DHS allows for earlier
    contact and possible prevention
  • High rate of co-morbid mental disorders among
    males (mood disorders, substance and/or alcohol
    abuse, conduct disorder)

Verbal Warning Signs
  • I am going to kill myself.
  • I want to die.
  • I cant stand living anymore.
  • Dont worry about me, I wont be around much
  • My family would be better without me.
  • Ive had enough I am ending it all.

Protective Factors
  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and
    substance abuse disorders.
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical
    interventions and support for help seeking.
  • Family and community support.
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution
    and nonviolent handling of disputes.
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage
    and support self-preservation instincts.

What to Do
  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of
    feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Dont debate whether suicide
    is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad.
    Dont lecture on the value of life.
  • Source American Association of Suicidology

What to Do
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and
  • Dont dare him or her to do it.
  • Dont act shocked. This will put distance between
  • Dont be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Source American Association of Suicidology

What to Do
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do
    not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or
    stockpiles pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in
    crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
  • Source American Association of Suicidology