Utah Leads U.S. In Suicidal Thoughts
October 21, 2011

Utah Leads U.S. In Suicidal Thoughts

According to a new study, more people in the state of Utah think about killing themselves than anywhere else in the U.S.

The report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said one in 15 adults had serious thoughts of suicide from 2008 to 2009.

The lowest suicide rate was in the southeastern state of Georgia, with one in 50 adults of the population reporting they thought of killing themselves.

The report examined state-by-state self-reported thoughts, plans and attempts to commit suicide.

According to the report, the lowest number of suicide attempts were in Delaware, with one in 1,000 people saying they tried to commit suicide.

"Suicide is a tragedy for individuals, families, and communities. This report highlights that we have opportunities to intervene before someone dies by suicide," CDC director Thomas Frieden said in a press release.

"We can identify risks and take action before a suicide attempt takes place."

Over a million people across the nation said they attempted suicide, while 2.2 million adults reported they made suicide plans in the past year.

The survey also found the highest rates of suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts were among people aged 18 to 29. 

About 14 percent of U.S. high school students said they had seriously considered attempting to take their own life during the 12 months of the survey, while 6.3 percent said they tried one or more times.

The survey said women were significantly more likely to commit suicide than men.

The CDC said that over 34,000 people killed themselves in 2007, which makes for about one suicide every 15 minutes.  Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Research released on Thursday gave no indication on why Utah, where about 60 percent of the population is Mormon, was the leader in suicidal thoughts.

"The variations identified in this report might reflect differences in the frequency of risk factors and the social and economic makeup of the study populations," Linda Degutis, director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a press release.

"These differences can influence the types of prevention strategies used in communities and the groups included."

The CDC said people most at risk for suicide often have a family history of the event, a history of depression or substance abuse, or experience a stressful event in their lives.


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