West Virginia Suicide Death Statistics
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. In 2017, over 47,000 Americans took their own lives. The national suicide rate has been rising steadily since the mid-2000's. However, the increase in suicide rates is not distributed equally among regions, or demographic groups. This report examines the data for West Virginia.
Individuals, the media, and public health departments in West Virginia and around the country all have important roles to play in reducing the risk of suicide. The CDC released a technical package (pdf) of suicide-prevention policies, programs, and practices. Individuals interested in learning more about suicide can visit the National Suicide Prevention Hotline's website, Be the One to Save a Life.
Suicide and Demographics in West Virginia
Nationally, men are significantly more likely to die by suicide than women. Research suggests gender differences not just in the outcomes but also in the psychological characteristics leading up to suicide ideation. Effective prevention strategies should take into account these differences.
Racial disparities in suicide rates are clear from the national data: the rate for whites and American Indians is higher than that for African Americans and Asians/Pacific Islanders.
Other differences manifest between racial groups. For example, nationally, the age ranges with the highest rates of suicide differ greatly for American Indians—peaking in adolescence—than for other race groups.
Overall, middle-aged adults have the highest suicide rate nationally. Since 1999, the rate has increased for most age groups, though the oldest range has remained relatively constant. (Data for the youngest and oldest age group has been omitted due to lack of data.)
1. "Gender-differences in risk factors for suicidal behaviour." NIH, 2014.
2. "Racial and Ethnic Disparities." Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
3. "Suicide Statistics." American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
4. "Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices (pdf)." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017.