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WMJ. 2005 Sep;104(7):54-8, 69.

Youth suicide in Wisconsin: mortality, hospitalizations, and risk factors.

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University of Wisconsin Medical School, USA.



To review Wisconsin data on youth suicide mortality, hospitalizations from nonfatal self-inflicted injuries, and self-reported risk behaviors.


Suicide mortality data for youth (defined here as persons 10-24 years of age) were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 1995-2001 and from the Wisconsin Division of Public Health for 2002. Hospitalization data for Wisconsin from 1995-2002 were obtained from the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Survey data on self-reported risk behaviors were obtained from the CDC for 2001.


While the rate of youth suicide declined by 24% in the United States during the 9-year period studied, Wisconsin's rate declined only slightly (8%). Firearms accounted for 60% of completed youth suicides in Wisconsin. Medication overdoses and cutting accounted for 88% of self-inflicted injury hospitalizations for Wisconsin youth from 1995 to 2002. Wisconsin high school students reported similar rates of risk factor behaviors as youth in New Jersey (the state with the lowest suicide rates in the nation), but were more likely to use firearms (60% versus 32%).


Rates of suicide mortality, attempts, and self-reported risk behaviors among youth in Wisconsin continue to be unacceptably high. Physicians can play an important role in reducing youth suicide rates by acting within their clinical practices, as leaders in community suicide-prevention activities, and as advocates for policy change.

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