Today is World Suicide Prevention Day: a day when we can all take time to acknowledge the striking reality of the impact that mental illness plays in each of our lives every single day, whether it’s our own struggle or that of a friend or family member. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), nearly 1,000,000 people die by suicide every year worldwide. That equals one death by suicide every 40 seconds. The total number of deaths to suicide exceeds deaths by homicide and war combined.
In the United States alone, over 38,000 people die each year by suicide—that’s more than the number of deaths due to motor vehicle accidents—making suicide the #1 injury-related cause of death. Let’s also not forget the number of people who survive a self-inflicted injury. This number totals 700,000-plus people each year.
How about a look at some Montana suicide statistics…
Let’s Talk Region: Montana ranks in the top 5 states for suicide rates in the U.S., and while Gallatin County’s average suicide rate is lower than the average for all of Montana, it is still 60% higher than the national average.
Let’s Talk Gender: Males are four times more likely to complete a suicide than females. However, females attempt suicide three times as often.
Let’s Talk Ethnicity: The highest rate of suicide in Montana is among the Native American populations at a rate of 27.2 deaths per 100,000 people. Caucasians are close behind with 22.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
Let’s Talk Age: The highest rate of suicide is among those aged 45-64 years old, and the second highest rate was of those aged 85 years or older.
Let’s Talk Setting: It is estimated that over 1,100 suicides occur on college campuses every year, and that 1 in 12 college students has made a plan to commit suicide.
If you find these numbers surprising, you’re not alone.
The realities of mental illness have long been kept in the dark, hiding behind a stigma that has oppressed those suffering from depression or other mental illnesses for far too long.
If you, a friend, or a family member is struggling with depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, you are not alone! Hope is near, and we’re excited to tell you about the many resources available for those in need. Please visit our Mental Health page for a list of resources in Gallatin County and surrounding areas.
Want to learn more about the health of Gallatin County? Check out the Community Health Profile, a document created to give you a close look at the health issues surrounding Gallatin County communities.
For more statistics on suicide, please visit the following resources:
Office of Public Instruction (OPI): http://opi.mt.gov/pdf/SafeSchools/SuicideMontana.pdf
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures