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Two new data reports have summarized trends in suicide and non-fatal self-inflicted injuries among two age groups in the USA: youth for suicide, and elders over age 65 for self-inflicted injuries. The youth report presents data from a 24-year period, and shows that, although suicide had declined by 28.5% from 1990 to 2003, during the most recent year of data (2003–04), a disturbing trend indicates a significant increase of 8%, the largest single-year increase recorded over the 24 years. Much of the increase was among young females, a group that had previously shown low rates, and was attributed to increases in both hanging and self-poisoning. It remains to be seen whether this trend continues when preliminary mortality data for 2005 are released at the end of the calendar year. Suicide is already the third leading cause of death in the USA for young people aged 10–24. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide rate trends among youth ages 10–24 years, United States, 1990–2004 MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2007;56:905–8.
The second report examined emergency department (ED) data and found that, in 2005, of approximately 7100 visits to the ED by older adults for self-inflicted injuries, 80.4% were due to suicidal behavior. This translates to 19.3 visits …