Suicide | Categories Utah Women and Mental Health | DOI: 10.26054/0KYA85N3G6

Background

Suicide is an unfortunate and potentially preventable public health issue. Men complete suicide with four times the frequency of women, but women attempt suicide three times more often than men [1]. In 2002, 31,655 U.S. adults completed suicide [1], and 132,353 were hospitalized for attempting suicide (See figure 1) [2].

Utah Data

Suicide is the leading cause of death in Utah. In 2001, it ranked as the second cause of death for persons aged 10-34 years and the primary cause of death for those 35-44 years [3]. The Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) reports from 1999-2003 Utah had the 8th highest suicide rate in the United States [3]. Suicide rates are higher in Utah when compared to the national suicide rates among all age groups. In Utah, the rate of suicide is 13.74 per 100,000 which is higher than the national rate of 10.66 per 100,000 [4]. Additionally, the Department of Health indicates that from 1999-2003, Utah men completed suicide fives times more frequently than Utah women with 1,563 men completing suicide compared to 293 women (see figure 2) [4].

The Utah Department of Health VIPP reports that the men’s most commonly used method to complete suicide in Utah is the use of a firearm at 64%; whereas, the most commonly used method used by women is poisoning at 39%.

Figure 1. Attempted and Completed Suicides in the United States
Figure 1. Attempted and Completed Suicides in the United States. Source: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Suicide.

Risk Factors

Common risk factors that increase the likelihood that an adult will attempt or complete suicide include a prior suicide attempt, depression, substance abuse, recent death of a loved one, financial loss, serious physical illness, perception of poor health, changes in social roles, hopelessness, and isolation [3]. Further, common protective factors that mitigate the possibility of suicide among adults include limited access to firearms, family and community support, clinical services for mental and physical health, religious and cultural beliefs that reject suicide, and skills in problem solving and conflict resolution [3].

Figure 2. Number of Utah Men and Women that Completed Suicide from 1999-2003
Figure 2. Number of Utah Men and Women that Completed Suicide from 1999-2003. Source: Utah Department of Health.

The psychological and emotional consequences of depression can be extremely damaging and potentially life threatening to the women and men who suffer from it. Each year, approximately, two-thirds of suicides are related to a major depression episode. Also, persons who are depressed are 50% more likely to attempt/complete suicide than those who are not [5].

Services

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For immediate help dial 9-1-1.

References

  1. American Association of Suicidology: Suicide in the U.S.A. Available online at http://www.suicidology.org/associations/1045/files/SuicideInTheUS.pdf. Accessed December 6, 2006.
  2. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Suicide: Factsheet. Available online at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/suifacts.htm. Accessed December 2, 2006.
  3. Utah Department of Health. Violence and Injury Prevention Program: Suicide. Available online at http://health.utah.gov/vipp/pdf/suicide_2006.pdf. Accessed December 9, 2006.
  4. Utah Department of Health. Violence and Injury Prevention Program: Suicide. Available online at http://health.utah.gov/vipp/suicide/index.html. Accessed December 3, 2006.
  5. American Association of Suicidology: Facts about Suicide and Depression. Available online at http://www.suicidology.org/associations/1045/files/Depression.pdf. Accessed December 5, 2006.

Emogene Grundvig, MSW

Editorial Coordinator, 2007 Utah Health Review, Women's Health in Utah