Suicide prevention and community-level indictors
This study sought to develop a set of easily obtainable, relevant measures of a community's condition that could be used to guide its suicide prevention efforts. Existing data were gathered across 159 Georgia counties for nine potential social indicators (rates of net migration, divorce, unemployment, violent crimes reported, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs [DUI] crashes, high school dropouts, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF], percentage of population aged 65 or older, and percentage of population who are white males) that had been chosen by the communities. Data on the social indicators from 1995 through 1999 were averaged and analyzed to determine their correlation with aggregated 5-year county suicide rates. Results of multivariate modeling procedures showed number of DUI crashes and percentage of the population aged 65 or older to be significant correlates of the suicide rate, controlling for other potential indicators. These preliminary data may provide a useful model of a county's 5-year suicide rate among counties reporting 20 or more suicides. Research with additional indicators and in other states will help determine the generalizability of these findings to other communities.