North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

N.C. OCME Annual Report 1994

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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 72 percent of suicides.

Suicides by sex and by means are shown in Figures 13 and 14. Males were more likely to use firearms compared to females (74.4 percent vs. 60.8 percent) while females were more likely to use drugs or poisons compared to males (19.9 percent vs. 7.3 percent).

Figure 12
1994 Medical Examiner Suicide Cases by Means of Death

Figure 13
1994 Medical Examiner Male Suicide Cases by Means of Death

Figure 14
1994 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 rates for whites were higher than for nonwhites, with white males having the highest rate. The suicide rate for nonwhite males was over eight times higher than that for nonwhite females, while the suicide rate for males in general was five times the rate for females. Persons between 25 and 34 years of age 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 23.7 16.5 22.0
Female 5.3 1.9 4.4
Total 14.3 8.7 12.9


Figure 15
1994 Medical Examiner Male Suicide Cases by Age Group

Figure 16 shows that the majority of suicides occurred during the daytime hours (7 a.m.-6 p.m.), although a peak occurred between 8 p.m. and midnight. 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. Cases in 1994 fit this pattern, with an unexplained high number in May (Figure 17). It should be noted that a third of the suicide victims had an unknown hour of injury.

Figure 16
1994 Medical Examiner Male Suicide Cases by Hour of Injury


Figure 17
1994 Medical Examiner Male Suicide Cases by Month of Injury




Last Modified: May 20, 2019