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NC Department of Health and Human Services

Sept. 7-13 is Suicide Prevention Awareness Week

Este pagina en espanolRelease Date: September 8, 2008
Contact: Carol Schriber, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week is Sept. 7 - 13. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in North Carolina.

Partners across the state are working to prevent suicide, particularly among young people. The North Carolina Injury and Violence Prevention Branch of the Division of Public Health, along with other governmental entities, non-profit organizations and community groups are working together to show that suicide is a significant public health issue, and to focus on suicide prevention.

The Injury and Violence Prevention Branch now brings a huge asset to these prevention efforts – the N.C. Violent Death Reporting System (NC-VDRS). According to State Health Director Leah Devlin, the NC-VDRS is the only system that combines data on violent deaths from death certificates, medical examiner records, and reports from local law enforcement.

“Later this month, the system’s first comprehensive report on violence in the state will be published,” Devlin said. “The report will include information that can help paint the picture of the circumstances around a death by suicide, such as a victim’s mental health status or the presence of alcohol, antidepressants and other drugs. Having this detailed information helps us better identify those at risk for suicide and can help us find more effective ways to prevent these tragedies.”

NC-VDRS data from 2004-2005 reveal that 264 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 died as a result of suicide during those two years. Of this group, 58 percent killed themselves with a firearm and 40 percent were reported to be in a depressed mood. Sixty percent of adolescents ages 10 to 14 who died by suicide experienced a crisis in the two weeks prior to their death. 

Getting immediate help is crucial. For those in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The lifeline is there for anyone to call, but especially those who feel sad, hopeless or suicidal. Family and friends who are concerned about a loved one who may be experiencing these feelings, or anyone interested in suicide prevention, treatment and service referrals should also use this resource.

The 2004 state plan, Saving Tomorrows Today: The North Carolina Youth Suicide Prevention Plan, outlines specific ways partners across the state can work to prevent suicide among young people. It is available on the N.C. Public Health website at – search for “Youth Suicide.” The new Violent Death Reporting System Annual Report, which covers 2005 data, will be published in late September. For a copy of that report or for more information about suicide in North Carolina, contact the N.C. Injury and Violence Prevention Branch at 919-707-5425. 


Updated: February 9, 2009