Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Suicide prevention coalition

A new suicide prevention coalition has been impaneled, called together under the auspices of Lincoln Public Schools, although not an LPS committee per se. I was asked to serve, and readily agreed. The group of about 40 people convened for two hours last night at our first meeting, and I artfully avoided a leadership role by agreeing instead to assemble some data in advance of our second meeting.

I've blogged about suicide a few times before. I read all the suicide reports, and a fair share of the attempted suicides as well, particularly those reports that come in between midnight and 5:00 AM. I have access to lots of data, but I should really wait until the end of 2014 to do any serious work, so I'll be able to include the full year of 2014. Couldn't help myself, though. I was already digging in this morning.

Here's just a few tidbits of information. Over the past 20 years (sans the next two weeks) there have been 525 suicides in Lincoln, and 5,863 attempted suicides that came to the attention of the police. Of the completed suicides, 212 were with firearms, 40.4% of the total. The next most common method was hanging, followed by overdose and asphyxia. Cutting instruments and jumping from structures were 10 and 11, respectively.

After the first of the year, I'll be compiling some age and gender breakouts, creating some trend lines, and calculating some rates normalized by population. I will also be producing some maps, charts and graphs. Hopefully the members of the coalition will be better informed after looking at these products. I'll keep readers informed from time to time.


Anonymous said...

Out of the 5000+ attempted suicides what is the breakdown by method? I would guess that suicide by gun is almost always fatal. The other methods probably have a high rate of failure.
Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the liberal prescription of psychiatric drugs (SSRIs, et al) - especially when prescribed by non-psyciatrists - are a factor in a significant proportion of suicides and attempted suicides, due to the not-uncommon side effects of suicidal (and worse yet, homicidal) ideation. Compound that with the erratic tendency of many patients to arbitrarily modify or even cease taking the prescribed dosage.

Of course, there's a lot of money in these drugs, especially with newer drugs still under patent protection, and that means a lot of advertising dollars going to TV networks, radio conglomerates, newspaper syndicates....and it's no surprise you don't hear more stories like these. It's hard for a publisher or editor to smile at investigative reporting targeting some of their big advertisers...

Anonymous said...

Oh, another thing, legislating tighter controls on the prescription of psych drugs isn't as appealing to pols when the companies that make them are huge (and I mean HUGE) political donors to candidates and political parties.

Tom Casady said...

Gun Nut,

Haven't done that yet. I'm just getting started on this project. I can guarantee you that the vast majority of attempts are overdoses, but I'm not going to run a pivot table on these until after Jan. 1, so I can include the full year of 2014.

We've had four non-fatal attempts so far this year with guns.