Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death among all Americans and the third leading cause of death among young (15-24) Americans. In 2009 (the latest year for which we have national statistics), there were 100.8 suicides per day or one suicide every 14.3 minutes. The 2011 suicide rate in Alabama is 13.3 per 100,000, which is higher than the most recent U.S. rate of 12.0 per 100,000 (2009). In 2012, on World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates launched the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a report from the U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and the Action Alliance, detailing 13 goals and 60 objectives for suicides over the next 10 years.
The Obama Administration also announced a series of activities that will help prevent suicides, including awarding ADPH a Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant for a three-year period funding suicide prevention programs for Alabama communities and a statewide media awareness campaign.
Suicide in Alabama
Fact #1 - The suicide rate (13.3) is much higher than the homicide rate (7.9), both in Alabama and in the U.S. as a whole.
Fact #2 - In Alabama, 82 youth suicides occurred in 2011, and more than 90% were males of all races.
Fact #3 - The suicide rate increases during hard economic times. The highest suicide rates ever recorded were during the Great Depression. During our current economic crisis, rates have increased an average of 0.51 deaths per 100,000 people a year. Without the increase in the rate, the total deaths from suicide each year in the United States would have been lower by about 1,500.
Fact #4 - The most common and most lethal method of suicide is by using firearms. The most recent U.S. data (2009) showed that 51% of suicides used firearms. During 2011 in Alabama 70% of suicides used guns. The use of a gun almost always guarantees a fatal outcome.