The goal should be to identify and treat people who are suicidal, Berman said. "We need to understand better those who are suicidal, irrespective of age or gender or race. We need to understand and observe warning signs, so that we can find and refer and treat these individuals before they become statistics," he said.
In 2004, suicide was the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 32,439 deaths. There are an estimated eight to 25 attempted suicides for every suicide death, according the National Institute of Mental Health.
For more on suicide, visit the National Institute of Mental Health.
SOURCES: Susan P. Baker, M.P.H., professor, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore; Alan L. Berman, Ph.D., executive director, American Association of Suicidology; Oct. 21, 2008, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, online