North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

N.C. OCME Annual Report 1995

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Chapter 5: Suicides

Suicide, the intentional taking of one's own life, is a serious public health problem in North Carolina. Figure 12 shows that a firearm was the means employed in 68 percent of suicides.

Figure 12
1995 Medical Examiner Suicide Cases by Means of Death

Suicides by sex and by means are shown in Figures 13 and 14. Males were more likely to use firearms compared to females (73 percent vs. 48 percent) while females were more likely to use drugs or poisons compared to males (26 percent vs. 5 percent).

Figure 13
1995 Medical Examiner Male Suicide Cases by Means of Death

Figure 14
1995 Medical Examiner Female Suicide Cases by Means of Death

Suicide rates by race-sex group are shown in Table 8, while suicide rates by age group are shown in Figure 15. The suicide rate for males was nearly four times that of females, while the rate for white males was almost double that of nonwhite males. Persons age 65 and over had the highest suicide rate.

Table 8: 1995 Medical Examiner Suicide Death Rates by Race and Sex (per 100,000 population)

  White Nonwhite Total
Male 23.6 12.9 21.1
Female 6.5 2.6 5.5
Total 14.9 7.4 13.1

Figure 15
1995 Medical Examiner Suicide Death Rates by Age Group

Figure 16 shows that the majority of suicides occurred during the daytime hours (7 a.m.-6 p.m.) in contrast to homicides where the majority occurred during the nighttime hours (7 p.m.-6 a.m.). It should be noted that over half of the suicide victims had an unknown hour of injury.

Figure 16
1995 Medical Examiner Suicide Cases by Hour of Injury

Suicides by day of injury showed no apparent pattern. Contrary to popular wisdom, holiday periods are not the most likely time for suicides, and typically spring is the peak period though in 1995 the peak occurred between July through October (Figure 17).

Figure 17
1995 Medical Examiner Suicide Cases by Month of Injury

 

 

Last Modified: March 9, 2017