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Surveillance of Suicidal Behavior in Kitsap County, Washington: A Retrospective Study

Authors

  • Nancy A. Simmons CDR, N.C., U.S.N., M.S.N., R.N., CNOR,

    1. Nancy A. Simmons was enrolled in Seattle University's Community Health Nursing Graduate Program and worked as a summer intern at the Bremerton Kitsap County Health District, Bremerton, Washington. Currently, she is a Perioperative Nurse with the U. S. Navy, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California. Jane W. Peterson is a Professor and Anthropologist, Seattle University School of Nursing, Seattle, Washington. Christiane Hale is the President, Hale & Associates, Inc., and an Affiliate Professor, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
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  • Jane W. Peterson R.N., Ph.D.,

    1. Nancy A. Simmons was enrolled in Seattle University's Community Health Nursing Graduate Program and worked as a summer intern at the Bremerton Kitsap County Health District, Bremerton, Washington. Currently, she is a Perioperative Nurse with the U. S. Navy, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California. Jane W. Peterson is a Professor and Anthropologist, Seattle University School of Nursing, Seattle, Washington. Christiane Hale is the President, Hale & Associates, Inc., and an Affiliate Professor, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
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  • Christiane Hale Ph.D., M.P.H.

    1. Nancy A. Simmons was enrolled in Seattle University's Community Health Nursing Graduate Program and worked as a summer intern at the Bremerton Kitsap County Health District, Bremerton, Washington. Currently, she is a Perioperative Nurse with the U. S. Navy, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California. Jane W. Peterson is a Professor and Anthropologist, Seattle University School of Nursing, Seattle, Washington. Christiane Hale is the President, Hale & Associates, Inc., and an Affiliate Professor, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
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Address correspondence to CDR N. A. Simmons, N.C., U.S.N., 10292 Viacha Drive, San Diego, CA 92124. E-mail: NASimmons@nmcsd.med.navy.mil

Abstract

Suicide is a major source of preventable morbidity and mortality in Kitsap County, Washington State. This article describes a study of suicidal behavior to identify risk groups in order to design intervention strategies. A retrospective study was conducted by reviewing the charts of individuals exhibiting suicidal behavior who had presented to the county's only civilian hospital emergency department over a 7 month period. Frequencies were calculated to identify at-risk populations and determine risk factors. One hundred forty-five charts were reviewed. Subjects were mostly female (69%), and ages ranged from 10 to 80 years with 73% between 15 and 44 years. Two-thirds of the subjects were not working. More than half had previously exhibited suicidal behavior and more than 75% had previous mental health encounter(s). Most admissions (67.6%) occurred between 4:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. The core public health functions of assessment, policy development, and assurance provided the framework for this community to explore the finding that suicide was a major source of preventable morbidity and mortality. Community-based intervention strategies have been developed in an effort to reach the Healthy People 2000 objective of reducing suicide deaths to no more than 10.5 per 100,000 residents.

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