Suicide rate soaring in Indiana

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Indiana’s suicide rate has soared 31.9 percent between 1999 and 2016, the equivalent of one extra suicide every eight hours.

Nationally, suicide is a leading cause of death, with rates increasingly in nearly every state during the 17-year time frame, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this month.

The figures are a stark reminder of the prevalence of the issue, in the wake of the high-profile suicides of designer Kate Spade and TV chef Anthony Bourdain.

Indiana ranked 25th nationally for suicides, the CDC said, with 15.36 suicides per 100,000 population, ahead of the national average of 13.42.

More than twice as many people die by suicide in Indiana than by homicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Suicide costs Indiana a total of $1.02 billion in work losses and other costs in 2010, the foundation said.

Across the United States, nearly 45,000 people took their own lives in 2016. The contributing factors were wide-ranging, from substance abuse and money troubles to relationship stress and declining physical health. Slightly more than half (54 percent) of the victims did not have a known mental health condition.

In Indiana, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall but the second leading cause for people between the ages of 15 and 34.

In Indiana, the leading mechanisms for committing suicide are firearms (50 percent), suffocation (26 percent) and poisoning (16 percent), according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Other means—such as drowning, cutting, motor-vehicle collisions and falls—made up the other 8 percent.

The Indiana counties with the highest suicide rates between 2011 and 2015 were Fayette (25.3), Benton, (25.1), Gibson (23.1), Vigo (22.4), Sullivan (20.7), Putman (20.4) and Greene (20.2), in terms of suicides per 100,000 people.

The counties with the lowest rates were Adams (5.2), Steuben (9.3) and Jay (9.4).

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