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Embargoed until Noon ET January 24, 2002
Contact: Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC)
National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control

Fact Sheet

Emergency Medical System Responses to Suicide-Related Calls – Maine, November 1999 – October 2000

Suicide is devastating for individuals, families, schools and communities. This study conducted in Maine reveals that response by emergency medical system (EMS) to suicide calls may be useful in early prevention efforts by increasing the understanding of the nature and characteristics associated with suicidal behavior. It also provides evidence for the importance of establishing statewide and national suicidal behavior surveillance systems.

  • Each year, almost 30,000 lives are lost in the U.S. due to suicide.

  • More than 264,000 Americans in 2000 were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments after attempting to take their own life.

  • Maine ranks 14th in the nation in the rate of suicide deaths (13.4 per 100,000 population).

  • Rates of EMS response to suicide-related calls were highest among females aged 15 to 19 years (384.8 per 100,000) and males aged 20 to 24 years (258.1 per 100,000).

  • The highest rate of fatal suicide for Maine is among males over the age of 45 years.

  • MS suicide-related calls commonly involved: drugs/substance abuse at the time of incident (31.7%), patient-reported psychiatric illness (28.8%), domestic discord or violence (16.8%), or medical illness/pain (7.1%).

For the MMWR, please link to this website:

For more information on reporting suicide please see the Reporting on Suicide: Recommendations for the Media online at:

For more information about injuries, visit the CDC’s website at:

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This page last reviewed January 24, 2002

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention