Popular culture insists on the significance of suicide notes, but research has yielded conflicting results about who leaves notes. Utilizing 6 years of suicides from a comprehensive statewide data surveillance system, differences were examined between cases with suicide notes and those without in terms of demographics, circumstances of the suicide, and precipitating circumstances. Of the 2,936 suicides, 18.25% included a note. Demographics and circumstances did not differ for cases with a note compared to cases with no note. Results have implications for working with people bereaved by suicide in helping understand that the notes are uncommon and not systematic. However, it is also possible that for some individuals, the content of a note is meaningful and can help or hinder their course of bereavement.
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