BY: Citizens Count
According to the latest data from the CDC, New Hampshire has the second highest suicide rate in New England, and the 19th highest in the U.S.
In 2016 (the most recent year of data available), there were 244 suicides in New Hampshire, a rate of 17.2 per 100,000 residents.
NH compared to other states
According to the CDC, Vermont ranked 18th with a rate of 17.3 per 100,000 residents. Maine came in 22nd (15.9), Rhode Island came in 43rd (11.2), Connecticut came in 46th (10.1), and Massachusetts came in 48th (8.8).
Montana had the highest suicide in the rate in the U.S., 25.9 per 100,000 residents. New Jersey had the lowest, with a rate of 7.2.
A sharply rising rate
The suicide rate in New Hampshire has increased sharply over the past decade, by about two-fifths.
New Hampshire is not alone in this trend. From 2005 to 20016, on average the suicide rate increased 27% in the states.
Demographics of suicide
According to the latest report from the New Hampshire Suicide Prevention Council, adults age 45 to 64 make up the largest share of suicides in the Granite State, followed by adults age 25 to 44. However, suicide is the second leading cause of death – after accidental injury – for young adults age 15 to 24.
Carroll and Coos counties have the highest suicide rates, while Strafford and Rockingham counties have the lowest.
Roughly three-quarters of suicide victims are male. However, women have higher rates of suicide attempts than men in New Hampshire; this could be due to men choosing more lethal methods, such as firearms.
What can NH do to decrease suicide?
Many mental health advocates argue that New Hampshire could decrease suicide rates by increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment.
New Hampshire could also implement public education campaigns to decrease the stigma around mental health treatment, particularly for men. Although the vast majority of suicides are male, females are much more likely than males to seek treatment for depression in New Hampshire.
Other advocates argue that New Hampshire could reduce suicide by reducing access to “lethal means” – particularly firearms. Right now New Hampshire does not report mental health records to the national background check system. Others argue reporting mental health records would violate privacy.
There is also increasing attention to the suicide rate among veterans.
For immediate phone support, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They will connect you with an operator in your area who is trained to handle suicide emergencies. For more crisis lines, and other information on mental health treatment available in New Hampshire, visit the NAMI New Hampshire website.