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About Suicide

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What is suicide?

  • Suicide ideation - Thoughts of engaging in suicide-related behavior.
  • Suicide attempt - A nonfatal self-directed potentially injurious behavior with any intent to die as a result of the behavior. A suicide attempt may or may not result in injury.
  • Suicide - Death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with any intent to die as a result of the behavior.
  • Suicide Key Terms Explained - Nomenclature-Self-Directed Violence Classification System

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Surgeon General and National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action. Washington, DC: HHS, September 2012.

Spread the word, language matters

Pictorial about Spread the word, language matters

Source: Retrieved from: Language and suicide | Everymind .

Number and Rate of Suicide Deaths

In 2019, Florida lost 3,465 lives to suicide, resulting in a rate of 14.50 per 100,000 individuals (Page 15, Figure 1). This rate was higher than the 2019 national rate of 13.93 per 100,000 individuals. The number of suicide deaths in 2019 decreased by 2.86 percent from 2018. Since 2015, the Florida suicide rate has remained higher than the average national rate, except in 2017 when the rate was slightly below that of the national rate (Figure 1).

Data indicates 3,113 individuals died by suicide in 2020 demonstrating a 10 percent decrease in the number of suicide deaths from 2019 to 2020. In 2020, the suicide death rate was 13.1 per 100,000 individuals, the lowest rate in over a decade and lower than the national rate of 13.5 per 100,000 individuals (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Number and Rate of Suicide Deaths per 100,000-person population, Florida and National 2015 - 2020
Data Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2021) Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS); Florida Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Geographic Distribution of Suicide Deaths

The age-adjusted rate of suicide death varies by county across the state. In 2020, Union County had the highest rate, with a rate of 36.6 per 100,000 individuals, followed by Holmes (35.1 per 100,000 individuals), Putnam (31.6 per 100,000 individuals) and Hamilton (31.1 per 100,000 individuals; Figure 2) counties. Lafayette and Franklin counties had the lowest rate with no suicide deaths occurring in 2020, followed by Hardee County with a rate of 6.2 per 100,000 individuals. Most counties have a suicide rate less than 20 per 100,000 individuals.

Figure 2. Heat Map of Florida Suicide Rates by County, 2020
Data Sources: Florida Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Age

The trajectory of suicide death rate over the past five years is varied. The suicide death rate was highest in those aged 75 or older in 2020. Importantly, between 2018 and 2019, those aged 10 – 14, 15 – 19, 20 – 24, and 25 – 34 saw increases in their rates (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Crude Suicide Death Rate by Age, 2015 - 2020
Data Sources: Florida Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Floridians in the oldest age group continue to die by suicide at the highest rate followed by Floridians in middle life. Importantly, those aged 45 – 54 and 55 – 64 saw a 28 percent and 4 percent decrease in suicide deaths in 2020 compared to 2015. The following table (Table 2) provides an overview of the percent change from 2015 to 2020 by age group.

Table 1. Suicide Death Count and Percent Change by Age Group, 2015 and 2020
Table 1. Suicide Death Count and Percent Change by Age Group, 2015 and 2020
Data Sources: Florida Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Figure 4. provides an overview of the suicide death count by age group from 2015 – 2020. The suicide death count has steadily increased for those aged 15 – 24 and 25 – 34 (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Suicide Deaths (Count) by Age, 2015 - 2020
Data Sources: Florida Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics. Note: Age group 5 – 14 was removed to maintain privacy since it had fewer than 50 deaths across all years. Range of deaths from 2015 – 2020 for those aged 5 – 14 was 17 – 34, with an average death count across all five years of 24.

Sex

Floridian males have more than three times the rate of suicide deaths compared to females. In 2020, the rate of suicide death for males was 20.7 per 100,000 males compared to 6.0 per 100,000 females (Figure 5). Additionally, females have seen a slight decrease in the 2020 rate compared to 2015 (6.8 per 100,000 females). Males have also seen a decrease in 2020 compared to 2015 (22.8 per 100,000 males). Overall, these rates have remained relatively stable from 2015 to 2020 (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Age-Adjusted Suicide Rate per 100,000 Individuals by Sex, 2015 - 2020
Data Sources: Florida Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Method

In 2020, firearms were used in the majority of suicide deaths across the state and all age groups, accounting for 55 percent of deaths. Suffocation accounted for the second most at 23 percent, followed by poisoning at 14 percent and other at 8 percent (Figure 6). The proportion of methods used in suicide deaths varied by age group, however, firearms still accounted for the most suicide deaths within each age group, followed by suffocation, poisoning, and other methods (Figures 7-13).

Figure 6. Percent Of Suicide Deaths By Method, 2020, Firearm 50, Poisoning 14, Suffocation 23, Other 8

Figure 7 Method Aged 5 - 24, Firearm 54, Poisoning 7, Suffocation 31, Other 8
Figure 8. Method Aged 25 - 34, 2020, Firearm 49, Poisoning 12, Suffocation 31, Other 8

Figure 9. Method Aged 35 - 44, Firearm 44, Poisoning 15, Suffocation 32, Other 9
Figure 10. Method Aged 45 - 54, Firearm 47, Poisoning 18, Suffocation 28, Other 7

Figure 11. Method Aged 55 - 64, Firearm 55, Poisoning 17, Suffocation 18, Other 10
Figure 12. Method Aged 65 - 74, Firearm 68, Poisoning 13, Suffocation 13, Other 6

Figure 13. Method Aged 75+, Firearm 71, Poisoning 13, Suffocation 9, Other 7
Data Sources: Florida Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics.

For more information on Florida suicide data, initiatives, and suicide prevention recommendations please see the Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council 2021 Annual Report

Publicly Available Florida Suicide Data Sources:

Florida Vital Statistics through FL Health Charts

All suicide-related death information is collected and housed within DOH’s Community Health Assessment Resource Tool Set, Florida Health CHARTS http://www.flhealthcharts.com/charts/default.aspx Data is provided via a publicly available dashboard, which provides indicators and county- level data for a multitude of health-related outcomes. As of July 2020, Florida Health CHARTS includes a suicide/mental health profile, which provides an overview of suicide and suicide-related data. The website includes a tutorial, directions/checklists, and offers users access to provisional 2020 and 2021 data. Provisional data is updated daily at approximately 5:00 a.m. EST until the final data is published.

Florida Youth Risk Behavior Survey

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a statewide, school-based survey of Florida’s public high school students. The YRBS is a part of the Florida Youth Survey, which includes additional surveys of youth behavior. Self-harm behaviors are captured within the YRBS for Florida high school students. For more information on the YRBS and the Florida Youth Survey, please visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/statistics-and-data/survey-data/florida-youth-survey/youth-risk-behavior-survey/index.html

How can I help prevent suicide?

If you or someone you know needs support, please call 1-800-273-8255

What are the warning signs of suicide?

Warning signs are like red flags that may indicate that a person may be more at risk for suicide.

Pictorial about Know Your Signs

Source: You Are Not Alone. "Infographic: Know the Signs," by Andrea Nadolny.

How do I know if someone is at risk for suicide?

Risks are characteristics linked with suicide and might not be the cause of it.

Risk Factors

Here is a partial list of some examples of risk factors for suicide. Risks are characteristics linked with suicide.

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods

If you or someone you know might be at risk, please call 1-800-273-8255

Protective Factors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are some protective factors for suicide. This is a partial list.

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
  • Family and community support (connectedness)
  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/riskprotectivefactors.html