Suicide is one of the most challenging and sensitive public health issues that we face, partly because so many folks have a hard time talking about the subject. It’s especially challenging for families that experience suicide first hand. 1,060 Arizonans died from suicide in 2009 the highest number ever, making it the 6th leading cause of death among men and 9th for women. The age-adjusted suicide rate increased by 8.8% from 14.8 suicides per 100,000 residents in 2008 to 16 per 100,000 in 2009, which is the highest suicide rate since 1998. There were 7,979 suicide attempt-related ER visits in 2009, 71% more than in 2007. The rate is much higher for men 24.6 per 100,000 compared with 8.1 per 100,000 for women.
Every part of the state has a suicide hotline that’s linked to 911 operators etc. Also, each of our RBHA’s have suicide prevention resources and have training in how to spot high risk folks ahead of time. You can see more in out Strategic Plan. We also have a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Cooperative Agreement for State-Sponsored Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention. The total award is $500K per year for 3 years- and it’s geared toward preventing suicide among young people.
The majority of the grant goes toward not-for-profit prevention organizations for direct suicide prevention services in the community. Most of the remainder of these grant funds will be awarded to not-for-profit prevention organizations for direct suicide prevention services in the community (for all populations). Additionally, a portion is being used to prepare emergency department staff to identify persons with substance abuse disorders and/or suicidal thoughts and make referrals to behavioral health and other community resources.