Suicide is always a tough topic to discuss, but suicide rates are increasing throughout the nation. Arizona, unfortunately, has a high suicide rate throughout the state affecting the young and the old.

According to statistics taken from CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services reports, the numbers in relation to suicide offer some, unfortunately, surprising information:

  • Taking one’s own life is the second-leading cause of death for Arizonans aged 15 to 34.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 14.
  • Arizona had 10 child suicides (ages 14 and under) in 2015.
  • Arizona had 60 teen suicides (ages 15 to 19) in 2015.
  • The state had 1,276 suicides overall in 2015.
  • There are 2.5 times more deaths from suicide annually than homicide.
  • For each successful suicide attempt, there are 25 failed attempts — with many leading to hospitalization.
  • More women than men have suicidal thoughts and attempts.
  • More men than women are likely to die by suicide.

In Arizona, the latest data shows 1320 Arizonans died by suicide in 2015. Additionally, the 18-and-under age group had increased by 26% from 2014 to 2015. In the six-year period between 2009 and 2015, Arizona’s annual child suicide rate has increased by 81%.

Maricopa and Pinal county’s suicide rate is very similar. Maricopa is 15.9 per 100,000 and Pinal stands at 15.5 per 100,000. Other counties have a much higher suicide rate. Santa Cruz comes in with the lowest at 9.7 per 100,000, while Yavapai (32.7), Navajo (32.0), Graham (30.5), all have rates of 30 per 100,000 residents.

Children’s Suicide Rates Statewide:

2.9 per 100,000 children die by suicide in the state of Arizona by the most recent data from 2015. In 2015, there were 47 suicides among children in Arizona, accounting for six percent of all child deaths. This was a 26 percent increase from 2014 and an 81 percent increase since 2009.

If there is a positive outlook on this, it is that Arizona still has a low suicide rate for children when compared to the rest of the country. The nation, as of 2015, sits at 11.7 per 100,000. But, the rise in child suicides in Arizona should still be a cause for concern. 

Older residents:

The highest suicide rate, as of 2013 statistics, were among people 45-64 at 19.1%. The second highest rate was from those 85 and older with 18.6%.

People at risk for suicidal behavior fall into all age groups. Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can’t cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they’re important to be aware of.

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • A family history of suicide
  • Job or financial loss
  •  Loss of relationship(s)
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • The stigma associated with asking for help
  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

Know the Warning Signs

Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

What can you do?

The first thing is to communicate and ask questions. If you suspect there is a problem, talk with the person that you may think is at risk. Ask the person directly. Encourage communication, be supportive, listen, and be respectful.

For teens, if there is still a concern after speaking with the person in question, share those concerns with a teacher, guidance counselor, parent, church member, or a responsible adult.

Services and support

For more information, there are several online resources. Here are just some of the many that are available: