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ASU report: Arizona men take own lives 3 times more often than women

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Arizona men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women, and guns are by far the most common method for suicide, according to a new report.

Arizona State University researchers analyzed data from the Arizona Violent Death Reporting System for 2016 and released their findings Monday, breaking down suicides in categories such as gender, ethnicity, education and age.

The study by the ASU Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety found that 1,265 Arizonans took their own lives that year, for a suicide rate of 18.8 per 1,000 population.

Of those, 985 were men and 280 women. In terms of suicides per 100,000, the rate for men was 29.45 and 8.27 for women.

Professor Charles Katz, director of the center, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that women are more likely to seek help when they are having problems of if friends suggest they might need assistance.

Men, however, are “much less likely to act upon their feelings to seek assistance when they believe they might be depressed,” he said.

“We also have a much more difficult time with dealing with some of the shame that might be involved in dealing with depression.”

Katz said it’s important to destigmatize the idea of receiving mental health services.

(Arizona Violent Death Reporting System: Annual Suicide Report 2016)

The study also found that guns were used in 60 percent (759 incidents) of suicides. Hanging/strangulation/suffocation was the next most common method at 22.7 percent (287 incidents).

More than 70 percent of suicide victims – 932 — were white/non-Hispanic, with a rate of 29.45 per 100,000. No other ethnicity had a rate above 19.

The suicide rate tended to increase with age. The highest rate – 30.05 per 100,000 — was among victims 75 and older.

Suicides for that age group occurred primarily among men, with a rate of 50.8 per 100,000. The rate was just 4.0 per 100,000 for women ages 75 and older – the lowest rate of any age/gender group.

(Arizona Violent Death Reporting System: Annual Suicide Report 2016)

The highest rate for women came in the 55-64 age group, where it was 15.6 per 100,000. That was still considerably lower than the rate of 37.6 for men that age.

A breakdown by education level showed that around 75 percent of all suicides were by people with at least some college credit, with 60.8 percent earning bachelor’s degrees or above.

Among other findings, three-quarters of suicides occurred in a house or apartment, 56 percent of victims had at least one indication of a mental health issue, and less than a third were married and living with their spouse.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and other resources.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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