Statement of purpose Suicide rates have increased between 2009–2018 in NC from 13.9 to 16.0 per 100,000 (n=1,085 and 1,463). Rates remain highest among males, non-Hispanic (NH) whites, and those 45 and older. This project sought to understand differences in trends among additional populations.
Methods/Approach NC Violent Death Reporting System data were used to identify suicide deaths among residents ages 10 and older between 2009–2018. Three-year rolling rates were calculated by race and age group. Data were combined across the study period to assess differences mechanisms.
Results There were 13,101 suicides between 2009–2018 (86.5% NH white, 8.3% NH black, 2.8% Hispanic, and 2.5% NH American Indian, Asian, or other/unknown race). The 2016–2018 suicide rate was highest among NH whites ages 45–54, 55–64, and 35–44, followed by NH American Indians ages 15–24 (26.7, 25.3, 24.3, 21.9, and 20.3 per 100,000 respectively). Rate increases were highest among youth and young adults across all racial/ethnic groups. Although rates were low among NH white and black youth ages 10–14 (3.1 and 2.7 per 100,000 for 2016–2018), they experienced the greatest percent increase (148.0% and 115.6% respectively), followed by NH Asians ages 15–24 (90.7% increase), Hispanics ages 24–34 (57.2% increase), and NH blacks ages 15–24 (54.5% increase). Mechanism differed by age and race, though firearms were most common (22.2%-80.8%).
Conclusions Although most suicides occur among NH whites, rates of suicide are increasing among youth across all groups, and more rapidly among youth of color. Prevention efforts are needed to address suicide among these populations that incorporate culturally appropriate messaging and variations in mechanisms.
Significance Analysis of multiple demographics at the state level is often overlooked due to small numbers. Use of rolling rates and other analytical methods are useful and necessary to understand disparities across demographic groups.