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Election 2010: Will Candidates Address the Facts? Check out State Suicide Rates and New Obama Administration Numbers; Unemployed Persons and Veterans are Especially at Risk

September 14, 2010

Arlintgon, Va.--The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has issued the second alert in a series  reminding editors, reporters and others to ask candidates for public office what they will do about the nation's mental health crisis.

State budget cuts in mental health services are putting lives at risk. Federal mental health block grants also have been cut or frozen over the past 10 years.

The latest alert highlights state suicide rates and ranks with special concern for unemployed persons and veterans. Approximately 35,000 Americans die from suicide each year. The most recent state-by-state data is from 2007, before the current economic crisis even began.

On September 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported additional numbers:

  • One suicide occurs every 15 minutes; almost 100 suicides a day.
  • More than a million people attempt to take their own lives each year.

Approximately 60 million Americans experience a mental health disorder, including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in any given year.  Less than one-third receives mental health care.

Unemployed persons and veterans are at higher risk. Unemployed persons are four times more likely to report symptoms of mental illness. Male veterans are twice as likely to die by suicide than civilians.

Rank/State  

Deaths

Rate  (persons per 100,000)

 

 

 

 

 

1 Alaska  

149

21.8

 

2 Montana  

196

20.5

 

3 New Mexico

401

20.4

 

4 Wyoming

101

19.3

 

5 Nevada

471

18.4

 

6 Colorado

811

16.7

 

7 West Virginia

300

16.6

 

8 Arizona

1,016

16.0

 

9 Oregon

594

15.9

 

10 Kentucky

649

15.3

 

11 Idaho

223

14.9

 

11 North Dakota

95

14.9

 

13 Oklahoma

531

14.7

 

14 Maine

191

14.5

 

15 Utah

378

14.3

 

15 Vermont

89

14.3

 

17 Arkansas

402

14.2

 

17 Florida

2,587

14.2

 

19 Kansas

382

13.8

 

20 Missouri

808

13.7

 

20 Tennessee

844

13.7

 

22 Mississippi

396

13.6

 

23 Washington

865

13.4

 

24 Wisconsin  

729

13.0

 

25 Alabama  

592

12.8

 

25 South Dakota

102

12.8

 

27 Indiana  

790

12.5

 

28 Louisiana  

522

12.2

 

29 New Hampshire

158

12.0

 

29 South Carolina  

530

12.0

 

31 North Carolina  

1,077

11.9

 

32 Pennsylvania

1,441

11.6

 

33 Virginia

880

11.4

 

34 Ohio

1,295

11.3

 

35 Michigan

1,131

11.2

 

36 Delaware

95

11.0

 

36 Minnesota

572

11.0

 

38 Iowa

322

10.8

 

39 Georgia

997

10.4

 

39 Hawaii

133

10.4

 

41 Nebraska

181

10.2

 

41 Texas

2,433

10.2

 

43 California

3,602

9.9

 

44 Maryland

518

9.2

 

45 Rhode Island

96

9.1

 

46 Illinois

1,108

8.6

 

47 Massachusetts

516

8.0

 

48 Connecticut

271

7.7

 

49 New York

1,396

7.2

 

50 New Jersey

596

6.9

 

51 D.C.

36

6.1

 

 

 

 

 

Source: American Association of Suicidology

 

 

 

 

 

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates.

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