Problem: In Wisconsin, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death. Subgroups identified as being at higher risk are the elderly (> age 65) and young adults (aged 15-24).
Objectives: 1) To compare overall national trends in suicide rates to Wisconsin trends in suicide rates from 1984 to 1998; 2) to examine suicide rates in Wisconsin sub-groups (age, gender and race) 1984-1998; and 3) to assess progress toward Wisconsin's Public Health Agenda for the Year 2000 suicide mortality goals.
Methods: National Center for Injury Control and Prevention data on suicide mortality were accessed for the United States and Wisconsin using WISQARS data extraction system. Mean suicide rates were calculated for two 5-year spans (1984-1988 and 1994-1998). Average numbers of deaths and percent change between mortality rates were calculated for the two 5-year spans.
Results: From 1984-1998, mean suicide mortality rates decreased 8% nationally and 14% in Wisconsin. Various trends are occurring between genders and ages. The current declines in teens 15-19 and elderly 75-84 may indicate reversals of previous trends. Rates for women decreased for nearly all age groups, continuing previously documented declines. While it appears progress has been made toward Wisconsin Public Health Agenda goals, it appears unlikely the overall objective of 8 per 100,000 will be met.