Suicide and Mental Health in Virginia

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Suicide and Mental Health in Virginia: 2003-2007Marc Leslie Virginia Violent Death Reporting System Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Virginia Department of Health Presentation for Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services Management Team June 22, 2009

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Outline of PresentationOverview of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) and the Virginia Violent Death Reporting System (VVDRS) Suicide in Virginia: 2003-2007 Suicide and mental health problems in Virginia: 2003-2007 Additional detail on suicide victims with mental health problems: 2007

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Overview of NVDRS/VVDRSSurveillance project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 17 states Collects data on all suicide, homicide, legal intervention, undetermined cause/manner, unintentional firearm injury, and terrorism deaths Abstracted into standardized database VVDRS began in late 2003 Located in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) which has legal authority over relevant cases Information primarily from OCME, Vital Records, law enforcement, and Department of Forensic Sciences

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Overview of NVDRS/VVDRSPrimary Data Elements Demographics (e.g., age, race, sex, education) Residential information of victim (e.g., address) Address of injury and type of location where injured Date and time of injury Method of fatal injury (e.g., firearm) Cause and manner of death Toxicological findings Circumstances

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Overview of NVDRS/VVDRSCircumstances Why victim committed suicide Life stressors/events present at time of fatal injury Reported primarily from OCME and law enforcement investigations Multiple criteria; different for each circumstance

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Overview of NVDRS/VVDRSCollecting Data about Mental Health Problems Evidence in death investigation record that victim had a mental health problem Diagnosis is abstracted when death is investigated by a medical doctor, or when there is evidence that victim received treatment Mental health treatment records are occasionally available, but not regularly Treatment labeled as “current” (within two months of injury) or “noncurrent” (over two months prior to injury)

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Suicide in Virginia: 2003-2007Overview of All Suicides: 2003-2007 4,216 suicides Rate of 11.2 (more than twice the homicide rate) Most victims male (76.9%) and White (86.7%) Median age of 46 Firearm (57.0%), Hanging/Suffocation (18.9%), and Poison (18.1%) most common methods Rural areas have lower numbers, but higher rates

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Suicide in Virginia: 2003-2007Widowed males: 60.8 LENOWISCO Planning District: 20.8 Males: 17.5 State average: 11.2 Widowed females: 6.1 Hispanics: 4.9Suicide risk (rate per 100,000) varies by race, sex, age, education, marital status, residence, and other factors:

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Suicide in Virginia: 2003-2007

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Suicide in Virginia: 2003-2007

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Suicide in Virginia: 2003-2007Males and females differ notably on many features: Age influences risk, but in different ways for males (risk increases with age) and females (risk rises, then decreases with age) Method of fatal injury different for males (1.8 times more frequent use of firearms than females) and females (3.4 times more frequent use of poison than males) Marital status has major impact on males, but not on females (except for divorced females) Circumstances (46.5% of males have a mental health problem, compared to 70.9% of females)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007This presentation focuses on persons who: Died between 2003 and 2007 Manner of death is suicide (completed suicides only) Were residents of Virginia at time of injury or death Were noted as having a mental health problem (n = 2,128) Had at least one circumstance known, but were not noted as having a mental health problem (n = 1,948)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007Methods of fatal injury: Firearm (46.7%) Poison (25.8%) Hanging/Suffocation (20.3%) Fall (2.2%) Drowning (1.9%) Sharp Instrument (1.8%)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007Poisoning suicide (n = 548 victims) – use of at least one: Prescription medication (79.6%) Over-the-Counter medication (17.0%) Alcohol (13.5%) Carbon Monoxide (10.6%) Street drug (5.7%) Opiate (40.7%) Antidepressant (40.1%)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007Specific poisons (n = 548 victims) Amitriptyline/Nortriptyline (10.8%) Citalopram (10.8%) Oxycodone (10.6%) Methadone (10.2%) Quetiapine (9.5%) Hydrocodone (8.9%) Diphenhydramine (8.8%) Acetaminophen (8.2%) Alprazolam (6.9%) Morphine (6.8%) Propoxyphene (6.2%) Fluoxetine (6.0%) Bupropion (5.1%) Cocaine (4.9%)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007Diagnoses and treatment: Depression (74.6%) Bipolar (13.7%) Anxiety Disorder (8.8%) Schizophrenia (4.7%) Current mental health treatment (74.7%) Noncurrent mental health treatment (7.7%)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: 2003-2007Other Circumstances Warnings of suicide: Disclosed intent to commit suicide (31.9%) History of suicide attempts (30.5%) Combined disclosed intent to commit suicide and/or history of suicide attempts (51.6%)This means that over half of suicide victims with a mental health problem were known to be or to have been suicidal.

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: State-Added Data from 2007Overview Variables created, defined, and collected by VVDRS Standards may differ from the CDC Arose from inability to capture details and nuances Over 90 new elements First year of completed data: calendar year 2007 Currently working on calendar year 2008 Additional information about 346 (71.6%) suicide victims with a mental health problem

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: State-Added Data from 2007General Suicide Circumstances Crisis in past 24 hours (19.7%, or 61.0% of those with a crisis in past two weeks) Took prescribed pain medication, past two months (16.4%) Sleeping too little (15.1%) or too much (0.4%) Unusual behavior, past two weeks (5.4%) Family history of suicide (4.1%) Loved ones not surprised by suicide (2.9%)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: State-Added Data from 2007Disclosed Intent to Commit Suicide Disclosed intent to: Family members (35.1%) Intimate partners (current/former) (32.1%) Friends/acquaintances (18.3%) Mental health professionals (6.9%) Medical personnel (4.6%) Corrections Officers/other corrections staff (2.3%)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: State-Added Data from 2007Disclosed Intent to Commit Suicide Reactions to disclosed intent: Action taken to prevent suicide (34.4%) Threats not taken seriously (11.5%) Threats taken seriously, no action taken to prevent suicide (1.5%)

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Suicide and Mental Health Problems in Virginia: State-Added Data from 2007Disclosed Intent to Commit Suicide Actions taken by loved ones to prevent suicide (n = 45): Sought some form of mental health treatment (including hospitalization) (28.9%) Limited access to firearms (20.0%) or ammunition (2.2%) Checked on victim (17.8%) Tried to persuade victim to not commit suicide(15.6%) Called 911/law enforcement (13.3%) Monitored victim (6.7%)

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Last Updated: 8th March 2018

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