Suicide is a major public health issue – and around the clock, its impact is felt globally. Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Suicide is a global phenomenon; in fact, 78% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015. Suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 17th leading cause of death in 2015. There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide. (Source: WHO).
In the United States, more than 44,000 people die by suicide annually – making suicide the tenth leading cause of death. On average, there are 123 suicides per day. In 2016, white males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides, and firearms accounted for 51% of all suicides. (Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). In 2015, 9.8 million U.S. adults aged 18 or older thought seriously about attempting suicide, including the 2.7 million who made suicide plans and 1.4 million who made non-fatal attempts (Source: SAMHSA).
In 2015, 1,129 residents died by suicide, making it the eighth leading cause of death overall in Washington state. At nearly 15.18 deaths per 100,000 people, this is higher than the annual age-adjusted suicide rate of 13.26 per 100,000 individuals (Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).
Suicide Trends in Washington State
According to multiple sources, Washington state has higher rates of suicide than the national average. The Washington State Department of Health’s death tables show that in 2015, the state’s suicide rate was 16.1 people per 100,o00.
Image source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Leading causes of suicide death in Washington state
Sources: Washington State Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Following the national trend, over half of all deaths by suicide were by firearms.
Firearm deaths in Washington state
In 2015, there were 714 deaths by firearm in Washington state. Suicide was the leading cause of firearm death.
|Cause of firearm death||Percent of firearm deaths|
|Other (legal intervention, accident, unknown)||3|
Suicide Age and Gender
In Washington state, men die by suicide three times as often as women:
Source: Washington State Department of Health
Rates of Suicide by County
At a rate per 100,000, the following Washington state counties had the highest suicide rates: Asotin, Clallam, Cowlitz, Douglas, Grays Harbor, Klickitat, Okanogan, Pacific, and Stevens had the highest suicide rates.
- Suicide chapter from the Washington State Injury and Violence Prevention Guide
- University of Washington Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- Washington State Suicide Prevention Plan (January 2016)
- Firearms Deaths in Washington State