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November 21, 2018

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Analysis of suicide numbers puts Nevada high on list

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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The number for the Nevada Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-877-855-HOPE (4673). More information is available at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Risk factors for suicide include:

  • Depression and other mental disorders, or a substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders). More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have these risk factors.
  • Prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Firearms in the home, the method used in more than half of suicides
  • Incarceration
  • Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, such as family members, peers, or media figures.

-- Source: National Institute of Mental Health

A recent analysis of suicide statistics in counties across the nation puts forth some jarring numbers for Nevada, with the suicide rate in each of the state's 17 counties ranking among the top two-thirds nationwide.

Six of the state's counties are in the top 25 of the nation's 3,102 counties or county-like jurisdictions, according to an analysis by msnbc.com, with Nye County ranking highest at No. 8. White Pine County, which includes Ely in eastern Nevada, ranks No. 9.

The analysis included data compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for the years 1979 to 2006.

MSNBC cites statistics from the American Association of Suicidology that indicate in 2006 the nation's suicide rate was 11.1 deaths per 100,000 people, or about 33,300 a year nationwide.

That same group puts Nevada's suicide rate at fourth-highest in the nation.

Nye County, which had 23 years of data from 1979 to 2006 to analyze, had a suicide rate of 34.9 per 100,000. Clark County, which ranked 161 nationwide, averaged 20.4 suicides per 100,000 residents each year based on 28 years of data. The highest number of suicides recorded in Clark County in one year was 309, with 97 being the lowest.

According to 2005 data from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Suicide Prevention, suicide was the second-leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 34 in Nevada. Among all age groups, in 2005, it was the sixth-leading cause of death.

Elsewhere on the nationwide list, Mineral County is ranked No. 13, Humboldt is No. 20, Lyon is No. 23 and Churchill is No. 25. Carson City, which is an independent city and not in any county, is No. 32, then Elko follows at No. 55 with Washoe at No. 67.

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