Are Candidates Addressing the Facts? Check Out State Suicide Rates and Ranks; Unemployed Persons and Veterans are Especially at Risk

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Obama Administration: Mental health crisis includes one suicide every 15 minutes; almost 100 suicides a day

For every two people who are murdered, three die by suicide. That’s the equivalent of one suicide every 15 minutes; almost 100 suicides a day.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has issued the second in a series of alerts reminding editors, reporters and others to ask candidates for public office at every level what they will do about the nation's mental health crisis.

The latest NAMI alert highlights suicide rates and ranks, with special concern for unemployed persons and veterans. Approximately 35,000 Americans die from suicide each year. The most recent state-by-state data are from 2007, (see chart below) before the current economic crisis even began (source: American Association of Suicidology).

State budget crises have led to devastating cuts in mental health services, putting lives at risk. Federal mental health block grants also have been cut or frozen over the past 10 years.

On September 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported additional numbers:

  • For every two people who are murdered, three die by suicide. That’s the equivalent of one suicide every 15 minutes; almost 100 suicides a day.
  • More than eight million Americans seriously consider suicide each year; more than two million have suicide plans, and more than one million attempted to take their own lives.
  • Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death in the country and the third-leading cause in people ages 10-24 years.

Approximately 60 million Americans experience a mental health disorders, including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in any given year. Less than one-third receives mental health care. Unemployed persons and veterans are at higher risk of suicide. Unemployed persons are four times more likely to report symptoms of mental illness. Male veterans are twice as likely to die by suicide compared to civilians.

1: Alaska – 149 deaths - 21.8 (persons per 100,00)
2: Montana – 196 deaths - 20.5 (persons per 100,00)
3: New Mexico - 401 deaths - 20.4 (persons per 100,00)
4: Wyoming – 101 deaths - 19.3 (persons per 100,00)
5: Nevada – 471 deaths - 18.4 (persons per 100,00)
6: Colorado – 811 deaths - 16.7 (persons per 100,00)
7: West Virginia - 300 deaths - 16.6 (persons per 100,00)
8: Arizona - 1,016 deaths - 16.0 (persons per 100,00)
9: Oregon – 594 deaths - 15.9 (persons per 100,00)
10: Kentucky – 649 deaths - 15.3 (persons per 100,00)
11: Idaho – 223 deaths - 14.9 (persons per 100,00)
12: North Dakota – 95 deaths - 14.9 (persons per 100,00)
13: Oklahoma -     531 deaths - 14.7 (persons per 100,00)
14: Maine – 191 deaths - 14.5 (persons per 100,00)
15: Utah - 378 deaths - 14.3 (persons per 100,00)
16: Vermont – 89 deaths - 14.3 (persons per 100,00)
17: Arkansas – 402 deaths - 14.2 (persons per 100,00)
18: Florida - 2,587 deaths - 14.2 (persons per 100,00)
19: Kansas – 382 deaths - 13.8 (persons per 100,00)
20: Missouri – 808 deaths - 13.7 (persons per 100,00)
21: Tennessee – 844 deaths - 13.7 (persons per 100,00)
22: Mississippi – 396 deaths - 13.6 (persons per 100,00)
23: Washington – 865 deaths - 13.4 (persons per 100,00)
24: Wisconsin – 729 deaths - 13.0 (persons per 100,00)
25: Alabama – 592 deaths - 12.8 (persons per 100,00)
26: South Dakota – 102 deaths - 12.8 (persons per 100,00)
27: Indiana – 790 deaths - 12.5 (persons per 100,00)
28: Louisiana – 522 deaths - 12.2 (persons per 100,00)
29: New Hampshire – 158 deaths - 12.0 (persons per 100,00)
29: South Carolina – 530 deaths - 12.0 (persons per 100,00)
31: North Carolina - 1,077 deaths - 11.9 (persons per 100,00)
32: Pennsylvania - 1,441 deaths - 11.6 (persons per 100,00)
33: Virginia – 880 deaths - 11.4 (persons per 100,00)
34: Ohio - 1,295 deaths - 11.3 (persons per 100,00)
35: Michigan - 1,131 deaths - 11.2 (persons per 100,00)
36: Delaware – 95 deaths - 11.0 (persons per 100,00)
37: Minnesota -     572 deaths - 11.0 (persons per 100,00)
38: Iowa – 322 deaths -    10.8 (persons per 100,00)
39: Georgia - 997 deaths - 10.4 (persons per 100,00)
40: Hawaii – 133 deaths - 10.4 (persons per 100,00)
42: Nebraska – 181 deaths - 10.2 (persons per 100,00)
43: Texas - 2,433 deaths - 10.2 (persons per 100,00)
44: California - 3,602 deaths - 9.9 (persons per 100,00)
45: Maryland - 518 deaths - 9.2 (persons per 100,00)
46: Rhode Island – 96 deaths - 9.1 (persons per 100,00)
47: Illinois - 1,108 deaths - 8.6 (persons per 100,00)
48: Massachusetts – 516 deaths - 8.0 (persons per 100,00)
49: Connecticut – 271 deaths - 7.7 (persons per 100,00)
50: New York - 1,396 deaths - 7.2 (persons per 100,00)
51: New Jersey - 596 deaths - 6.9 (persons per 100,00)
52: Washington D.C. – 36 deaths - 6.1 (persons per 100,00)

About NAMI
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates.
http://www.nami.org
twitter.com/namicommunicate
facebook.com/officialNAMI

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Christine Armstrong
NAMI
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