Suicide mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 1999-2009

Am J Public Health. 2014 Jun;104 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):S336-42. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301929. Epub 2014 Apr 22.


Objectives: We assessed national and regional suicide mortality for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons.

Methods: We used 1999 to 2009 death certificate data linked with Indian Health Service (IHS) patient registration data to examine death rates from suicide in AI/AN and White persons. Analysis focused primarily on residents of IHS Contract Health Service Delivery Area counties; Hispanics were excluded. We used age-adjusted death rates per 100,000 population and stratified our analyses by age and IHS region.

Results: Death rates from suicide were approximately 50% higher among AI/AN persons (21.2) than Whites (14.2). By region, rates for AI/AN people were highest in Alaska (rates = 65.4 and 19.3, for males and females, respectively) and in the Northern Plains (rates = 41.6 and 11.9 for males and females, respectively). Disparities between AI/AN and White rates were also highest in these regions.

Conclusions: A coordinated, multidisciplinary effort involving federal, state, local, and tribal health officials is needed to address this important public health issue.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alaska / epidemiology
  • Alaska / ethnology
  • Death Certificates
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Inuits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Suicide / ethnology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology