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Hanging Suicides Up in United States
Date:11/20/2012

he investigators found.

Other trends the researchers noted:

  • Suicide rates are increasing faster among women than men, and faster among whites than in non-whites.
  • In terms of age, the suicide rate increased the most (39 percent) among people 45 to 59, while dropping 8 percent among those 70 and older.

A recent paper in the same journal reported that more people die by suicide in the United States than in car crashes, making suicide the leading cause of injury deaths.

A report published Nov. 5 in The Lancet said about 1,500 more suicides have occurred since 2007 than expected, and it attributed about one-quarter of the increase to the sagging economy.

Baker said limiting access to guns and narcotic painkillers has helped reduce suicides involving those methods, and she wants to see similar strategies adopted to limit opportunities for hanging.

For example, building codes can ensure that overhead light fixtures and pipes are unable to support the weight of a person, she said.

And clothing bars in closets should be made to break away when excess weight is placed on them, Baker said.

However, limiting access to hanging is far more difficult than limiting access to guns or poisons, experts said.

"These new findings pose a serious challenge for injury prevention efforts due to the widespread availability of rope and other means for hanging," said Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Lanny Berman, executive director of the American Association of Suicidology, agreed.

"This shift will require innovative efforts by those in the suicide prevention community and by policy makers to effectively reach the desired goals of the revised National Strategy for Suicide Prevention," Berman said.

That program was recently infused with a $56 million federal grant to fund suicide prevention programs. The goal is to save 20,00
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