Suicide Trends in Wisconsin and the United States 1979-1998: Good News for Young and Old

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WIsconsin Medical Journal

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Wisconsin Medical Society





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Problem: In Wisconsin, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death. Subgroups identified as being at higher risk are the elderly (> age 65) and young adults (aged15-24).

Objectives: 1) TO compare overall national trends in suicide rates to Wisconsin trends in suicide rates from 1984 to 1998; 2) to examine suicide rates in Wisconsin sub-groups (age, gender and race) 1984-1998; and 3) to assess progress toward Wisconsin's Public Health Agenda for the Year 2000 suicide mortality goals.

Methods: National Center for Injury Control and Prevention data on suicide mortality were accessed for the United Stated and Wisconsin using WISQARS data extraction system. Mean suicide rates were calculated for two 5-year spans (1984-1988 and 1994-1998). Average numbers of deaths and percent change between mortality rates were calculated for the two 5-year spans.

Results: From 1984-1998, mean suicide mortality rates decreased 8% national and 14% in Wisconsin. Various trends are occurring between genders and ages. The current declines in teens 15-19 and elderly 75-84 may indicate reversals of previous trends. Rates for women decreased for nearly all age groups, continuing previously documented declines. While it appears progress has been made toward Wisconsin Public Health Agenda goals, it appears unlikely the overall objective of 8 per 100,000 will be met.


Originally published by the Wisconsin Medical Society. Publisher's PDF available through remote link via the University of Hawaii. This article appears in the Wisconsin Medical Journal.
Note: Eric Reither was affiliated with the University of Wisconsin - Madison at time of publication.

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