Talking About Suicide

Because it's not a taboo

Reading about the U.S. research agenda on suicide

I’m no expert in bureaucracy, but when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lays out its research priorities for the years ahead, I assume that action follows. It’s good to see that its top research priority on suicide is finding more information on both fatal and nonfatal suicidal behavior. “Because the number of suicides reflects only a limited portion of suicidal behavior (i e , substantially more persons are hospitalized as a result of nonfatal suicidal behavior than are fatally injured), collected information should include data related to suicidal behaviors that result in death, hospitalization, or outpatient medical treatment, as well as those where no medical care is sought.” (Emphasis mine.)

I’m not saying that nonfatal suicidal behavior _ suicide attempts, in other words _ is somehow more significant than fatal suicidal behavior. I’m pointing out that the CDC recognizes all of the risks involved.

“Fatal and nonfatal suicidal behaviors result in considerable medical, economic, and social costs, including lost wages, pain, and reduced quality of life for victims, and trauma for family members and friends,” the report says.

How many victims? Maybe that will become more clear, and soon.

The CDC report calls for more information on suicides and suicide attempts from the state and local level, pointing out that even information at the national level is limited. It also wants more information about the suicide methods and circumstances involved.

Does this mean more suicides will be openly recorded as suicides, instead of being fudged and classified under less stigmatized causes of death?

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