About 1 in every 100 U.S. adults reported making plans to commit suicide in the past year, with suicide attempts more common among Rhode Islanders and serious thoughts of suicide most common among people in Utah.
Because suicide is a preventable problem, the first-ever state-by-state snapshot of how frequently Americans consider, plan or attempt to end their lives suggests there are opportunities to intervene before people succeed in killing themselves, according to a report released today by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, someone dies by their own hand every 15 minutes, with millions more entertaining thoughts of ending it all.
Suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts are more frequent among young adults 18-29, and women are more prone than men to consider suicide, although men are more likely to succeed in ending their lives, the report found. The enormous regional variations it identified in the thoughts and behavior leading up to suicide suggest that suicide prevention programs need to be tailored to local communities.
“We can identify risks and take action before a suicide attempt takes place,” said Dr. Thomas M. Frieden, director of the CDC in Atlanta. “This is not a problem to shroud in secrecy. We need to work together to raise awareness about suicide and learn more about interventions that work to prevent this public health problem.
Interventions can range from public education campaigns to broadly raise suicide awareness to targeted psychotherapy for people at risk of committing suicide, especially those with a historyof suicide attempts.
The report prepared by the CDC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), was based on information from the 2008-2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Among its main findings:
- More than 2.2 million adults reported making suicide plans in the past year. Rates of adults planning to kill themselves ranged from 0.1 percent in Georgia to a high of 2.8 percent in Rhode Island.
- More than 1 million adults reported attempting suicide in the past year, with rates of attempted suicide lowest in Delaware at 0.1 percent and highest in Georgia at 1.5 percent.
- Suicide rates have been consistently higher in the West, particularly in the Rocky Mountain states. However, adults in the Midwest and West were more likely to think about killing themselves than those in the Northeast and South. Adults in the Midwest were more likely to have planned to kill themselves than their counterparts in the South.
- Suicide attempt didn’t vary by region.
Previous studies have found that for every suicide, there are 25 attempted suicides. Men most frequently use guns to kill themselves. Women most often by overdosing on tranquilizers, painkillers, antidepressants and other prescription drugs.