NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Attempting To Combat Suicide

March 17, 2000

Suicide is the eighth largest cause of death in the U.S. -- taking more than 30,500 lives in 1997. So a number of groups are gearing up to launch anti-suicide efforts, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is running a public information campaign aimed at decreasing teen suicides.

  • Per capita, Nevada has the highest suicide rate in the U.S. -- at 24.5 deaths per 100,000 population as of 1997.
  • Alaska and Montana both have rates above 20 per 100,000 -- followed by Wyoming, New Mexico, Idaho, South Dakota, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado.
  • The national suicide rate is 11.4 per 100,000.
  • Males commit 67 percent of suicides -- with white males overwhelmingly predominating.

An average of 84 Americans died by their own hand in 1997 and an estimated 765,000 attempt suicide each year. While three women try to commit suicide for every male who attempts it, men are more often successful because they primarily use firearms, experts report.

On average, each suicide closely affects at least six people, experts report.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "Prevention of Suicide Now Preferred to Condemnation," Washington Times, March 17, 2000.


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