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.