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Suicide and Attempted Suicide

Suicide is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide, the 11th in the United States (1), and the third among U.S. residents aged 10--24 years, accounting for 4,243 (11.7%) of all deaths in this age group. Suicide attempts and other acts of self harm that result in nonfatal injuries take a heavy toll on the health of younger persons. In 2002, an estimated 124,409 visits to U.S. emergency departments were made after attempted suicides or other self-harm incidents among persons aged 10--24 years.

To provide insights that might lead to successful prevention programs, this week's MMWR includes reports on 1) trends in suicide by persons aged 10--19 years, 2) suicide attempts and physical fighting among high school students, 3) school-associated suicides, 4) suicide among Hispanics, and 5) suicidal behavior in China.

Reducing the overall suicide rate and the number of suicide attempts reported by adolescents are among the 2010 national health objectives (objective nos. 18-1 and 18-2) (2). Integrated prevention strategies that address multiple associated factors (e.g., substance abuse prevention, family and peer support, and access to health services) are likely to be more effective in reducing suicidal behavior than programs that focus on a single risk factor (3). Additional information about suicide prevention is available at


  1. Krug EG, Dahlberg LL, Mercy JA, Zwi A, Lozano R, eds. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2002. Available at
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010, 2nd ed. With Understanding and Improving Health and Objectives for Improving Health (2 vols.). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000.
  3. Goldsmith SK, Pellmar TC, Kleinman AM, Bunney WE, eds. Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2002.

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