According to HealthDay News, “More Americans now commit suicide than die in car crashes, making suicide the leading cause of injury deaths.”
The article is based on a recently published study (freely available) in the American Journal of Public Health, which found the switch happened in 2009, when “the suicide rate was 15% higher than in 2000.” The article notes more than 37,000 Americans killed themselves in 2009.
After suicide and car crashes, the top causes of injury-related death are poisoning, falls and murder. The study found men and white people were more likely groups to commit suicide than women, black, or Hispanic people.
And it’s possible suicide has been the leading cause for even longer, and may be a bigger problem than we realize. The article quotes study author Ian Rockett as saying, “Suicides are terribly undercounted; I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe.”
Rockett believes many of the deaths in the poisoning category, which includes prescription drug overdose, could have been intentional.
Here are some common warning signs of suicide risk. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273-8255.