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2011 CDCP health disparities report highlights suicide (USA)

February 24, 2011

A new report from the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) highlights the impact of suicide in the United States over an eight-year period. A first of its kind, the CDCP report consolidates the most recent national data available on disparities in mortality, morbidity, behavioural risk factors, health care access, preventive health services, and social determinants of critical health problems in the United States. The report focuses on two of the CDCP’s primary goals: to reduce preventable morbid¬ity and mortality and to eliminate disparities in health between segments of the US population.

The chapter on the impact of suicide looks at US data from 1999 to 2007. In 2007 suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the US and the cause of 34,598 deaths. In 2000, the estimated cost associated with suicidal behaviour (fatal and nonfatal) was $33 billion ($32 billion in productivity losses and $1 billion in medical costs). The authors state that suicide rates are influenced by biological, psychological, social, moral, political, and economic factors, and that suicide affects all racial/ethnic groups, but it is often misperceived to be a problem solely affecting non-racialized males.

To reduce the rates of suicide among groups that are dis¬proportionately affected, the authors suggest that substantial public health investments are needed to address the health and well-being of people at risk and to support the widespread implementation of culturally relevant and effective programs. Prevention efforts and resources should also be directed toward adults aged 40 to 54 years, a group often overlooked for prevention that has experienced recent increases in suicide rates.

See “Health Disparities and Inequalities Report 2011,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (January 14, 2011; 60 [Supplement]), available at www.cdc.gov.

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