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Suicide in Georgia

 

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Suicide, a major public health problem, is tragic and costly for Georgians. The burden of the problem of suicide in Georgia is more completely portrayed in the new report, Suicide in Georgia, 2005, as it contains data on deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits for self inflicted injury and associated costs.

NEW: Contract Programmatic Report, 2008

 

From the Suicide in Georgia, 2005 report

  • In 2002, 900 persons died, 2800 were hospitalized and 5400 visited hospital emergency departments because of intentionally self-inflicted injuries.
  • These injuries resulted in approximately $40 million in hospitalization and emergency room charges.
  • Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death for all Georgians and the third most common cause of death among youth 15-24 years old and young adults 25-34 years old.
  • Firearms were the most common method of suicide for both men and women, and young and old.

Learn more about the statistics in the Suicide in Georgia, 2005 report
 

The Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan

The overall aims of the Plan are to:

  • Prevent deaths due to suicide
  • Reduce the occurrence of other self-harmful acts
  • Reduce the suffering associated with suicidal behaviors and the traumatic impact of suicide on loved ones
  • Provide opportunities and settings to enhance resilience, resourcefulness, respect, nonviolent conflict resolution and interconnectedness for individuals, families and communities

The Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan was developed through a contract between DHR and the Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) with the guidance of the Plan Steering Committee. It provides a framework for getting everyone involved in preventing suicide. The Plan is based on recommendations and information from the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. It is designed to guide individuals, agencies, and organizations in local communities as well as at regional and state levels. The Plan encompasses suicide prevention in the many systems that touch people’s lives. These include education, health care, media, the workplace, faith communities and criminal justice.

The foundation of the Plan uses the public health approach for suicide prevention. The building blocks of the Plan are arranged as opportunities for Awareness, Intervention and Methodology (AIM) to improve suicide prevention. These major action steps are presented under eleven goals.

 

Action Step: Awareness

  • Promote awareness that suicide is a serious public health problem and that many suicides are preventable
  • Develop broad-based support of suicide prevention
  • Develop and implement strategies to reduce the stigma associated with being a consumer of mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention services

Action Step: Intervention

  • Develop and implement community based suicide prevention programs
  • Promote efforts to reduce access to lethal means of self-harm
  • Implement training for recognition of at-risk behavior and delivery of effective treatment
  • Develop and promote effective professional practices and support services
  • Improve access to and community linkages with mental health and substance abuse services
  • Improve reporting and portrayals of suicidal behavior, mental illnesses and substance abuse in the entertainment and news media

Action Step: Methodology

  • Promote and support research and evaluation on suicide prevention
  • Improve and expand systems for data collection

 

Importance of Surveillance and Evaluation

Comprehensive data about suicide shed light on individual risk factors and community wide trends, providing families, health professionals, law enforcement, policymakers, and others with the information they need to develop prevention efforts that work. When based on sound data, a range of targeted approaches have been proven to reduce suicide rates.

The DHR Chronic Disease and Injury Epidemiology Section of Public Health annually reviews Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data (HIDD) and Vital records data. Data, rates, and costs are compiled to describe various aspects of the suicide problem, trends over years and rates in each county in Georgia.

 

Publications

Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan

Funds were appropriated by the Governor and the Georgia General Assembly to address the need for a prevention plan to address the serious problem of suicide in Georgia. The Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan was completed in 2001, by the Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) with input from stakeholders around the state. The Plan contains a wide range of activities to promote suicide prevention including community awareness, education, implementing prevention programs such as screening youth in schools, making referrals for mental health services, parent and teacher gatekeeper training, promoting and supporting research and evaluation of suicide prevention.

 

Maps of Suicide in Georgia
These maps show rates of suicide deaths and suicide attempts by county, with overlays of state legislative boundaries

Suicide in Georgia 2005
State and County Statistics, 1999-2002
This report more effectively portrays the burden of the problem of suicide in Georgia. In addition to data on 2002 deaths, data on hospitalizations and emergency room visits for self inflicted injury and associated costs are detailed.

Suicide in Georgia: 2000
State and County Statisitcs, 1994-1998

Strategic Plans
This first report on the problem of suicide in Georgia includes: the 10 leading causes of death; age-adjusted suicide rates in Georgia and the US; rates by race and sex; rates by age groups; annual numbers by age group; rates for youth 15-24 by race; the percent of suicides by methods used. County level data includes age-adjusted rates, number of suicides, and number and percent of firearm suicides. Recommendations from the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Suicide, 1999, Georgia and national resources and risk and protective actions address the need for prevention efforts.

Data Summary: Suicide in Georgia, 1999-2001
This summary report presents information on the number of deaths, who is at risk, age-adjusted rates by sex, age, race, and marital status, most common methods and age-adjusted rates by county. Selected goals of the Georgia Suicide Prevention Plan are highlighted.

Data Summary: Youth Suicide in Georgia, 1999-2001
This summary report highlights information on 15-19 year old high school age youth: number of deaths, age-adjusted rates by sex, age and race, most common methods for suicides and attempts, number of males and females who attempt suicide and are hospitalized, the hospital charges and the 2003 Georgia Student Health Profile Survey results on the prevalence of suicidal thoughts among 9th – 12th graders in Georgia public high schools.

 

Web links

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Georgia (SPCGA) is a cooperative and representative group of non-profit organizations, businesses, state agency representatives, advocacy groups, survivors, faith and community based organizations. The group's mission is to address the problem of suicide in Georgia through collaborative efforts that promote, support, and increase awareness, prevention, intervention and aftercare. They meet monthly at the Link’s National Resource Center for Suicide Prevention. Membership is open to all interested persons. Contact Marti Vogt, 678-405-2277.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), funded by the Substance Abuse, Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), supports suicide prevention using the best of science, skills and practice. The Center provides prevention support, training, and informational materials to strengthen suicide prevention networks and advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The site has links to many additional resources for suicide and suicide prevention.