Verde Valley AZ (June 8, 2020) – The suicide rate in Yavapai County is nearly 3 times the national average and is continuing to increase. In 2019, 98 individuals committed suicide in Yavapai County, an increase of 17% from the 84 suicides in 2018.
Suicides are predominantly occurring amongst our senior population. The age of decedents ranged from 18 to 95 with the average age being 62.1 years of age. 75 of the suicide 98 deaths involved individuals 50 years of age and older.
Gunshot was the most common manner of death with 64 of the suicide deaths involving a gunshot wound. 20 of the deaths involved the ingestion of drugs, 10 of the deaths involved asphyxiation (hanging), and 4 deaths involved incision (multiple) wounds.
“Multiple organizations in Yavapai County are committed to working together to reduce suicide deaths in Yavapai County. During this time of increased isolation due to the Covid-19 virus, it is essential that we do everything possible as a community to support our isolated seniors,” stated Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney and Chair of Community Counts.
Kelly Legler is the Chair of the Yavapai County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Kelly is concerned stating, “America’s suicide rates are continuing to rise, especially with the younger populations, as well as a steady climb amongst seniors. While the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yavapai County recognizes that the focus is bigger than one person – one coalition – and even one organization. This is a community health risk, and it impacts us all. . A primary barrier to reducing suicides is stigma. Stigma is to blame for people not feeling comfortable asking for help, or knowing where to go for help. There are many different resources available in Yavapai County if someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide. People are dying because they would rather end their own lives than talk to someone about the pain they are going through. We take physical health seriously – when our body is telling us that something is wrong, we seek help and guidance. It should be that simple for emotional/mental health.”
Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking people seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, there is plenty you can do to save a life. Almost everyone who attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Don’t ignore any reference to death or suicide. A common fallacy is the idea that talking about suicide gives someone the suicidal ideas. This is not true. Talk opening and honestly about suicidal thoughts. These conversations can help to save a life.
For more information or support call the national suicide prevention hotline number at 1-800-273-8255.