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NYC Health Department Releases Data on Male Suicide from 2007 to 2016

The NYC Health Department today released new data on male suicide in New York City between 2007 and 2016. In 2016, there were 359 suicides among men, a rate of 8.5 per 100,000 males– the lowest rate in 10 years and less than half the national rate (21.4 per 100,000). The number of male suicides during this 10 year time period fluctuated between the low of 344 in 2007 and high of 404 in 2013. From 2007 to 2016, men died by suicide twice as often as women. The suicide rate was highest among New York City men ages 45 to 64. The suicide rate among White males has been consistently and markedly higher than other racial and ethnic groups in the past 10 years. Queens had the highest number of suicides among men (87), and the three neighborhoods citywide with the highest number of male suicides were all in Queens: Southwest Queens (16), West Queens (15), and Jamaica (15). However, the Bronx had the highest rate of suicide among men (9.3 per 100,000 males).

The City has made an unprecedented commitment to mental health under ThriveNYC, a set of 54 initiatives to change the conversation and stigma surrounding mental illness and provide greater access to mental health care. New Yorkers experiencing suicidal thoughts can contact NYC Well for free and confidential support by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting “WELL” to 65173 or going to nyc.gov/nycwell. Help is available at any hour of the day with translation in over 200 languages. In addition, anyone can take a free Mental Health First Aid course to learn how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health challenges, including suicidal thoughts. In an emergency, always dial 911. The full report on male suicide is available online.

“In New York City there is always help and there is always hope.  No one has to suffer alone,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide 1-888-NYC-WELL is available 24 hours a day. New Yorkers can also take a free Mental Health First Aid course to increase their mental health literacy and learn how to respond in a crisis.”

“If you are considering suicide or you are concerned about someone, call NYC Well,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Our counselors can give you immediate, free, and confidential support at any hour of the day.”

Additional data highlights:

·         While the rate among males increased from 2007 to 2013 (8.9 to 9.8 per 100,000 males), it declined from 2013 to 2016, with an average annual decrease of 5 percent, resulting in the lowest rate in the past 10 years in 2016 (8.5 per 100,000 males).

·         Nationally, the suicide rate among males has increased from 2007 to 2016 and is more than 2.5 times the rate in New York City (21.4 vs 8.5 per 100,000 males in 2016).

·         From 2007 to 2016, 34 percent of all males in New York City were White, but over half of all male deaths by suicide were among White males (51 percent). The suicide rate among White males has been consistently and markedly higher than other racial and ethnic groups in the past 10 years.

·         The use of a firearm as a method of suicide among New York City males decreased in both number and percentage, from 66 (19 percent) in 2007 to 49 (14 percent) in 2016. In contrast, nationally a firearm is the most common method of suicide among males at 57 percent. 

·         The number of suicide deaths among boys ages 10 to 17 was highest in 2016 with 11 deaths.

Suicide Warning Signs

The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.

·         Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.

·         Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun.

·         Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.

·         Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.

·         Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.

·         Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.

·         Sleeping too little or too much.

·         Withdrawing or isolating themselves.

·         Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.

·         Displaying extreme mood swings.

The City has free mental health resources available to all New Yorkers:

·         Contact NYC Well if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting “WELL” to 65173 or going to nyc.gov/nycwell. Free, confidential support is available at any hour of the day accessible in over 200 languages.

·         Complete a Mental Health First Aid course to learn how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health challenges, including suicidal behavior, anxiety, depression, psychosis, overdose and withdrawal. Mental Health First Aid is a free, one-day training offered six days a week in all five boroughs. Courses are offered in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Haitian Creole, and French. New Yorkers interested in taking the class can sign up at nyc.gov/mhfa.

The Health Department released data on female suicide in May.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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