CDC Expands Violent Death Reporting: Great News for Suicide Prevention

Care for Your Mind

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on September 5, 2018, new state grants to integrate the final 10 states into the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS): Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. NVDRS will now receive data on violent deaths from all 50 states; Washington, DC; and Puerto Rico.

Violent deaths include those due to suicide and homicide. As reported for 2016, these accounted for more than 50,000 deaths. The cause of death for various ages were as follows:

Age Group Suicide Rank Homicide Rank
1-4 4th
5-9 4th
10-14 2nd 4th
15-24 2nd 3rd
25-34 2nd 3rd
35-44 4th 5th
45-54 4th 10th
55-64 8th
Total 10th

See 10 Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, U.S., 2016

Suicide is one of only three causes of death that is increasing, yet many violent deaths can be prevented. NVDRS accumulates the most comprehensive data available on violent deaths by combining state data from law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners, and vital statistics. NVDRS combines these data sources to provide details on demographics, method of injury, the relationship between the victim and the suspect, and information about circumstances such as depression, financial stressors, intimate partner violence, or relationship problems.

In addition, NVDRS links multiple deaths that are related to one another to provide more complete information about multiple homicides, suicide clusters, and cases of homicide followed by the suicide of the suspect. With more complete data about who dies violently, where victims are killed, when they are killed, and the circumstances of the death, it may be easier for states, public health officials, researchers, and advocates to develop effective suicide prevention and violence reduction measures across the country.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has been advocating to increase funding to include all states, DC, and Puerto Rico in order to have better data. AFSP asserts that “to design effective suicide prevention strategies, an essential first step is to ensure the availability of complete, accurate, and timely information, particularly with regard to the populations at risk and the circumstances and predisposing factors that contribute to deaths from violence. By linking these data, the NVDRS can reveal new insights into the prevention of suicides, insights that can be used by state public health officials to better target their prevention activities.”

We are thrilled for this development and optimistic about the enhanced data that will be available for suicide prevention planning.

Editor’s Note: Our appreciation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the CDC for providing information for this post.

What do you think?

  • In what ways do you think that collecting data from all 50 states plus DC and Puerto Rico will impact suicide prevention?
  • What additional measures, if any, do you think the CDC should take regarding collection and dissemination of violent death data?

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.  AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies: funding scientific research; educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention; advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention; and supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide in our mission. Headquartered in New York and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide.

About the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world. CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone, every day; this includes preventing homicide and suicide and their adverse health consequences to families and communities. Click here for additional information about NVDRS.

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