Friday, September 21, 2012

Suicide Now Leading Cause of Injury Mortality

Mortality rates for suicide rose substantially over the past decade, and suicide has passed motor-vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury mortality, according to a report appearing yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers at West Virginia University School of Public Health and other institutions used annual underlying cause-of-death data from the National Center for Health Statistics to describe national trends in fatal injury for 2000-2009.

Suicide ranked first as a cause of injury mortality, followed by motor-vehicle crashes, poisoning, falls, and homicide. (Good news from the study was that the unintentional motor-vehicle mortality rate declined 25 percent.) The researchers speculate that a steep increase in unintentional poisoning they found may be related to the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. They suggest that the suicide data point to a "global public-health problem" in that suicides have also surpasses motor-vehicle accident mortality in the European Union, Canada, and China. Read more about the study here.

For information about suicide prevention, see Psychiatric News here. For a comprehensive review of the subject, see The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment and Management, Second Edition.

(image: kentoh/