Suicide Prevention Month

Today’s blog comes to us from our friends at St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center. The focus is on September being National Suicide Prevention Month and how, here in our state, we are seeing a rise in teen suicide rates. Once you’ve had a chance to look it over, we’d love to hear your feedback. Driving important discussions around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

Teen and young adult suicides continues to climb at an alarming rate in Arizona, which climbed to 8th in the nation, up from 12th place, for death by suicide. With 12.4 teen suicides per 100,000 deaths, Arizona also outpaces the national average, which sits at only 8.9 suicides per 100,000 deaths. Suicide is the leading cause of death for children aged 10-14, second leading cause of death for ages 15-34 and the third leading cause of death for adults 35-44 years old.

These frightening statistics that show no signs of slowing down are cause for concern and the impetus behind St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center’s suicide awareness campaign during National Suicide Prevention Month this September.

Representatives from St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center can provide helpful resources and lifesaving tips to identify warning signs for those who are at risk or know someone at risk of committing suicide. Among the leading warning signs:

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, known as suicidal ideation
  • Increased alcohol and/or drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior

Suicide is a local, national and international public health epidemic, and a leading cause of death in the United States. Suicidal behavior affects people of all ages, genders, races, regions and religions.

In the last 30 years, suicide has skyrocketed to the highest levels in the United States – with increases in every age group except older adults. Moreover, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the rate of death by suicide will increase to one every 20 seconds by the year 2020. Additional staggering statistics include:


  • On average, one person dies by suicide every seven hours in the state.
  • Four times as many people die by suicide in annually than by homicide.
  • Suicide cost a total of $1,246,006,000 of combined medical and work loss in 2010 or an average of $1,139,987 per death
  • In Arizona, the highest number of teen suicides are within the American Indian community, with 26.1 suicides among every 100,000 deaths. The national average of this group is 16.6 suicides per 100,000 deaths.
  • Males are three times more likely to commit suicide than females.
  • Arizona Department of Health Services determined 98 percent of suicides are preventable.
  • Drug use was the most commonly identified preventable factor in suicides followed closely by family discord and history of parental divorce.


  • There are 123 suicides each day, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • 44,965 suicides are reported each year.
  • Firearms account for more than 50 percent of all suicides.
  • Men die by suicide 3.5 more times than women.
  • The highest suicide rate (19.72 percent) was among adults between 45 and 54 years of age; the second highest rate (18.98 percent) was among those 85 years or older.
  • Each day, there is an average of more than 5,400 suicide attempts by young people grades 7-12.
  • An estimated 4.8 million Americans are survivors of suicide of a friend, family member, or loved one.



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