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Missoula Measures - Suicide

graph suicide rate US, Montana, Missoula 2007-2013 


Why this topic?

Nationally, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people 15 to 24 years of age, taking more than 12 of every 100,000 American young people.  Nationally, 11 of every 100,000 Americans of all ages took their own lives. More men than women died by suicide, and firearms were the most common method used by both.  National Institute of Mental Health

These numbers do not represent all the suicide attempts, nor deaths not reported as suicide, e.g., motor vehicle crashes caused by suicidal behavior; family members withholding information for insurance reasons; or fear of the stigma attached to suicide, etc. Nationwide, there are 25 suicide attempts for every completed suicide; and only a small percentage of suicide-related injuries are treated by medical personnel and subsequently reported as attempted suicide.

Missoula Suicide Prevention Network web page - Lists goals, events, activities and projects to reduce suicides in Missoula County. Under the direction of the Health Promotion Division of the Missoula City/County Health Dept.

In Montana, women attempt suicide three times more often than men, but men complete suicide four times more often than women. This is because men use more lethal means, particularly firearms. Missoula Suicide Prevention Network

How are we doing?

Suicide rates in the Western states have consistently been higher than those for the U.S. in general. Montana has consistently ranked in the top 5 for the highest suicide rate.

In many states, suicide in the Native American population is higher than among Caucasians. However, in Montana, the numbers are nearly identical.

Missoula County’s rate of firearm suicides is higher than the national rate, and, along with Montana, ranks very high when compared with other Western states.

Of the 77 reported suicides in Missoula County from 1998 through 2002:

When attempting suicide, men are apt to use more lethal methods that cannot be interrupted, like guns and hanging.

Women attempt suicide 3-4 times more often than men but are more likely to use drugs or poisons. Also, women are more likely to seek and accept help when faced with depression or other problems.

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Healthy People 2020 Target
  Base Target
Reduce adult suicide rate 11.3 10.2

Related data

graph suicide rates US, Missoula County 2013 

Montana Youth Risk Behavior Trend Data - Suicide

Percent of students who . . . in the past 12 months:
  1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
Felt sad or depressed enough that stopped doing usual activity 26 27 26 26 26 27 25 24
Seriously considered attempting suicide 19 19 19 18 15 17 15 17
Made plan about how to attempt suicide 16 16 15 15 13 13 12 15
Actually attempted suicide 7 10 10 10 8 8 6.5 16
Had a suicide attempt requiring medical treatment 3 4 3 3 3 3 2 4

Montana YRBS Trend Data

National Suicide Trends - Approximately:

Alcohol and Suicide

MCES 2013

More suicide data

National suicide demographics - American Fundation for Suicide Prevention

More regarding prescription drug abuse and suicide:

U.S. emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts by young adult males rose 55 percent between 2005 and 2009.

ER visits for drug-related suicide attempts involving antidepressants among young adult males in those four years jumped 155 percent, and cases involving anti-anxiety and insomnia medications rose 93 percent.

Emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts involving narcotic pain relievers nearly doubled among men aged 35 to 49, and almost tripled among men aged 50 and older.

These findings are based on data from the 2005-09 Drug Abuse Warning Network reports.

National Suicide Rates by State - by state, age, race

Montana Suicide Rates by County - state suicide prevention plan, page 7

(NOTE: Suicide statistics are often 3 years behind the current year.)


Research has shown that 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder at the time of their death.  Of those, 60% suffer from both treated and untreated depression.  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide rates are higher for persons who are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. Social and environmental factors associated with suicidal behavior can be characterized by loss, such as job or home loss, incarceration, financial difficulties, unwanted move, diagnosis of a chronic or terminal illness among others. In the adolescent population, bullying and gender identity issues may be major contributors.

However, no single factor causes suicide.  It is usually a complex combination of a number of factors.

Some age or socioeconomic groups may be at a higher risk.  As the economy or societal norms change, so does the vulnerable population.  Data, statistics, prevention info at AFSP

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As with violence against others, alcohol and drug use are contributing factors for people at risk for suicide.

Youth Suicide – From Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Plan, 1995

Missoula County Youth Suicide

For the past several years, the county has averaged 1-2 teen suicides per year; almost all have been males. Missoula Fetal, Infant and Child Mortality Review Team


Related Websites  Prevention, Awareness and Support

National Alliance on Mental Illness - NAMI

Missoula County Suicide Prevention Network

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

CDC Leading Causes of Death - by state

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

American Association of Suicidology

QPR Institute

        A summary of QPR tips and techniques

Women's Health Statistics - by state; National Institute for Health; includes suicides.

Links to health data, statistics and information from many national sources.

Healthy People 2020 - background on national public health status of this topic and many others.


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