Trends in Adult Suicides in New Mexico: Utilizing Data from the New Mexico Violent Death Reporting System*


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    Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/New Mexico Department of Health Cooperative Agreement #U17CE624126-05. Opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Sarah L. Lathrop, D.V.M., Ph.D.
New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator
MSC11 6030
1 University of New Mexico
NM 87131-0001


Abstract:  Although many suicide prevention programs focus on youth suicides, data indicate the vast majority of suicides occur among adults (18–64 years). In 2005 New Mexico joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death Reporting System, collecting data on suicides, homicides, and unintentional firearm fatalities to better inform state and national prevention programs. We utilized data collected by the New Mexico Violent Death Reporting System in its first 2 years of operation (2005 and 2006) in order to define the demographic patterns of adult suicides in the state and characterize risk factors. A total of 526 suicides occurred among adults during this time, with the majority being male (78.5%) and White non-Hispanic (56.7%). The highest incidence was in adults between 45 and 54 years (28.1%). Firearms were the most commonly used mechanism, and “current depressed mood” the most commonly identified risk factor. High rates of adult suicide indicate the need for targeted prevention programs.