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Notice to Readers: World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide was the 11th overall leading cause of death in the United States in 2003 (the most recent year for which final death data are available) and was responsible for 31,484 deaths (1), which equates to one suicide every 17 minutes. In addition, suicide attempts and other acts of self-harm that result in nonfatal injuries affect the health of many persons and families. In 2004 (the most recent year for which final ambulatory hospital data are available), approximately 535,000 visits to U.S. emergency departments were made after attempted suicides or because of other self-inflicted injuries (2).

Reducing the overall suicide rate of the population and the number of suicide attempts among adolescents are two of the 2010 national health objectives (objectives 18-1 and 18-2, respectively) (3). Integrated prevention strategies that address multiple relevant topics (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 factor (4). Additional information about suicide prevention is available from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at Additional information about World Suicide Prevention Day is available at


  1. Hoyert DL, Heron MP, Murphy SL, Kung H. Deaths: final data for 2003. Natl Vital Stat Rep 2006;54(13).
  2. McCaig LF, Nawar EN. National hospital ambulatory medical care survey: 2004 emergency department summary. Advance data from vital and health statistics; no 372. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2006.
  3. US 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: US Government Printing Office; 2000.
  4. Goldsmith SK, Pellmar TC, Kleinman AM, Bunney WE, eds. Reducing suicide: a national imperative. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2002.

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Date last reviewed: 9/7/2006


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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