A brief analysis of suicide methods and trends in Virginia from 2003 to 2012
Hassamal, S., Keyser-Marcus, L., Breden, E.C., Hobron, K., Bhattachan, A., & Pandurangi, A.
The objective is to analyze and compare Virginia suicide data from 2003 to 2012 to US suicide data. Methods. Suicide trends by method, age, gender, and race were obtained from Virginia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s annual reports. Results. Similar to US suicide rates, suicide rates in Virginia increased between 2003 and 2012 from 10.9/100,000 people to 12.9/100,000 people. The most common methods were firearm, asphyxia, and intentional drug overdose, respectively. The increase in asphyxia (, ) and decrease in CO poisoning (, ) were significant. Unlike national trends, intentional drug overdoses decreased (, ). Handgun suicides increased (, ) and are the most common method of firearm suicide. Hanging was the most common method of asphyxia. Helium suicides also increased (, ). Middle age females and males comprise the largest percentage of suicide. Unlike national data, the increase in middle age male suicides occurred only in the 55–64-year-old age group (, ) and decreased in the 35–44-year-old age group (, ) and 10–14-year-old age group (, ). Suicide in all female age ranges remained stable. Caucasians represent the highest percentage of suicide. Conclusion. There has been a rise in suicide in Virginia and suicide rates and trends have closely resembled the national average albeit some differences. Suicide prevention needs to be enhanced.