Changing Patterns in Rates and Means of Suicide in California, 2005 to 2013

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Abstract

Objectives

To describe recent trends in suicide throughout California and to compare rates and methods of suicide (“means”) across demographic groups.

Methods

Data from statewide mortality records were used to estimate age-adjusted rates of suicide from 2005 to 2013, overall and by means, age, gender, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, and county.

Results

The suicide rate increased 12.6% between 2005 and 2013, from 11.2 to 12.6 per 100 000 population, but this overall trend masks substantial heterogeneity across subgroups. In particular, rapid increases were observed for individuals of multiple races/ethnicities. Means of suicide changed, trending away from firearms toward suffocation and drug poisoning.

Conclusions

High-risk groups and means of suicide are changing rapidly in California, so appropriate public health programming should prioritize population-based strategies.

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