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Epidemiological Investigation of a Youth Suicide Cluster: Delaware 2012
  • Published Date:
    Jan 2013
  • Source:
    Del Med J. 85(1):15-19.
Filetype[PDF - 277.31 KB]


Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    23513329
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4702518
  • Funding:
    CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Description:
    Methods

    Data were obtained from the Delaware Office of the Medical Examiner, law enforcement, emergency departments, and inpatient records. Key informants from youth-serving organizations in the community were interviewed to better understand local context and perceptions of youth suicide.

    Results

    Eleven fatal and 116 nonfatal suicide attempts were identified for the first quarter of 2012 in Kent and Sussex counties. The median age was higher for the fatalities (18 years) than the nonfatal attempts (16 years). More males died by suicide, and more females nonfatally attempted suicide. Fatal methods were either hanging or firearm, while nonfatal methods were diverse, led by overdose/poisoning and cutting. All decedents had two or more precipitating circumstances. Seventeen of 116 nonfatal cases reported that a peer/friend recently died by or attempted suicide. Local barriers to youth services and suicide prevention were identified.

    Discussion

    Several features were similar to previous clusters: Occurrence among vulnerable youth, rural or suburban setting, and precipitating negative life events. Distribution by sex and method were consistent with national trends for both fatalities and nonfatalities. References to the decedents in the context of nonfatal attempts support the concept of ‘point clusters’ (social contiguity to other suicidal youth as a risk factor for vulnerable youth) as a framework for understanding clustering of youth suicidal behavior.