Female Suicide Rate

It pains me to write that headline, because I do love the ladies (especially one lady in particular):

The suicide rate among preteen and young teen girls spiked 76 percent, a disturbing sign that federal health officials say they can’t fully explain.

For all young people between ages 10 to 24, the suicide rate rose 8 percent from 2003 to 2004 – the biggest single-year bump in 15 years – in what one official called “a dramatic and huge increase.”

Of course, the gun control folks will be disappointed in this:

The study also documented a change in suicide method. In 1990, guns accounted for more than half of all suicides among young females. By 2004, though, death by hanging and suffocation became the most common suicide method. It accounted for about 71 percent of all suicides in girls aged 10-14; about half of those aged 15-19; and 34 percent between 20-24.

Well, we haven’t exactly made guns less accessible since 1990, so it would seem that guns aren’t a driving factor behind female suicide, especially as more young women arm themselves. They definitely aren’t going to like this:

It also said the suicide methods suggest that prevention focused solely on restricting access to pills, weapons or other lethal means may be of limited success.

I’ve never found the prevention of suicide a compelling reason to restrict access to anything, because I believe that it’s a person’s fundamental right to terminate his life. But it’s nice to know studies are showing it wouldn’t work anyway.

Hat tip to Ms. Moneymakers

UPDATE: ZendoDeb has more.

29 thoughts on “Female Suicide Rate”

  1. Gun ownership has declined; that’s likely why other methods of suicide (hanging/suffocation) are more prevalent.

  2. “I’ve never found the prevention of suicide a compelling reason to restrict access to anything, because I believe that it’s a person’s fundamental right to terminate his life.”-Sebastian.

    May I insert a caveat here. I will agree with your statement concerning full persons, but young people are not full persons yet with the maturity to intellectually choose that option. I do hope we can find some way to escort children through that emotional turmoil at least into adulthood, where I will not argue with their right to opt out should they then so choose to do so.

  3. The problem is there’s no reliable way to measure gun ownership. Most gun owners I know and associate with wouldn’t answer a pollster if they asked about whether they had a gun in the home. There are some pretty absurd results you get when you listen to the polling. Even for measuring things like AR-15 ownership rates, if you follow the industry estimates, then look at accessory sales, every AR-15 owner has to have at least several different stocks. There are a lot more out there than statistics are showing.

    Ironically, one side effect of increased pressure on the gun issue is that fewer people will answer honestly whether they own them.

  4. I don’t disagree, Straightarrow, which is why parents who have children in the home who may be suicidal, should keep their firearms locked up and away from them.

    Of course, I believe the solution to that issue is education, and the solution the anti-gun folks favor is throwing the parents, who have already lost a child, in prison.

  5. My guess is autoerotic asphyxiation, not suicide. My theory is that it’s just a trend, like huffing freon or something. Blame it on teh intarw3bz.

    Of course we can always have a little Moral Panic over that. It’s just as good grist as a hefty jump in suicide.

  6. “Gun ownership has declined; ”

    Where do you get this crap? There’s 70 MILLION more guns in circulation after 2005 than there was in 1991 (FBI/UCR and Bureau of Justice Statistics).

  7. I’m guessing if their hand isn’t down their pants that’s all the evidence you need to rule out auto-erotic asphyxiation.

  8. A blogger by the name of Zenno Deb had an interesting take on this issue. I think she was linked to by Ace of Spades. The takeaway was that the rate was well below 1/100,000 which put the numbers into a non-event statisically speaking.

  9. I’m glad JadeGold admits that guns do not cause suicide. Even as ownership “declines” (odd, being that gun sales are skyrocketing), people still find a way to kill themselves.

    You just took away yet another flimsy reason to ban them. Thanks.

  10. There’s no question firearms enable suicides.

    The problem is there’s no reliable way to measure gun ownership.

    In reality, there are quite a few reliable ways. One of the truly frustrating things about ‘reasoned discourseâ„¢’ with your ilk is the astounding lack of understanding about statistics and statistical inference. To merely dismiss all polls you don’t like based on the belief gunowners always lie betrays a fundamental ignorance of polling. Polling understands that some respondents will lie or misunderstand what is being asked; that is accounted and controlled for.

  11. No Jade, you specifically said “Gun ownership has declined; that’s likely why other methods of suicide (hanging/suffocation) are more prevalent.”

    Which means, even without guns, people are still killing themselves. Logically, that would mean that the lack of a gun had nothing to do with it.

    Do you believe in the healing powers of crystals, Jade? You might as well because you seem to believe an inanimate hunk of plastic and metal actually has mind control powers over people.

    Face it, if a person wants to kill themselves, they will do it using whatever method is available. You’d have to be ignorant (which does appear to be the case) to think that a non-suicidal person sees a gun and simply decides to kill himself or that someone who wants to commit suicide will change his or her mind simply because a firearm isn’t available.

    Is that seriously what you are suggesting?

  12. Having dealt with all kinds of gun owners, there are gun owners who won’t even register to vote, because that’s how they track you, you know. Now, those guys are quite an extreme, and certainly a pretty small minority, but there’s two basic types of gun owners who won’t admit to having guns in the house:

    Ones who won’t talk about their collections at all. Truth be told, if someone called my house claiming to be from a polling company, I might think twice before telling them I have guns in the house. What if they are a theft ring looking for targets? Owners will larger collections will tend to be a bit paranoid about that stuff.

    Embarrassed progressives who think gun ownership is wrong, wrong, wrong, but found themselves in a situation where they felt like they needed one. This groups is larger than you think.

  13. Robb: I know what I said; even if all guns were to magically disappear from the planet–people would still find ways to kill themselves. But the fact is a gun is an enabler of suicide–that’s not in dispute.

    I’d add that if there were fewer guns, there’d also be fewer suicides simply for the fact the presence of a gun makes it very easy for someone who may be having some temporary or fleeting suicidal tendencies to act on them immediately. Whereas if a gun weren’t available, that person might be able to overcome an impulsive feeling.

    Straightarrow, when he’s not threatening people, actually had a decent comment upthread. Young people–with raging hormones–may tend to inflate issues way out of proportion. IOW, they’re very impulsive.

  14. Many objects are “enablers” of suicide. Sleeping pills, knives, high bridges. A suicidal person will slit their wrists in a fleeting moment just as easily as guns.

    Again, you know what you said, but you’re not even paying attention. Suicides have *risen* even as gun ownership *drops*. Therefore the guns make it more likely canard is disproved. Yet you still cling to it.

  15. So Jade, do you agree that the availability of guns has little to do with suicide rate or can you refute the above articles with citations?

    Otherwise, we should be able to bury this stupid argument. Guns do not CAUSE suicide nor do they increase the rate enough to validate restrictions on otherwise healthy individuals.

  16. Nope, Robby, the fact is guns are enablers of suicide. Yes, pills, razors, etc. can also be enablers but they aren’t as efficient.

    One can hold up a bank with a gun, a knife, or a piece of paper. But all these methods are not equally effective. As a psychiatrist notes:

    Suicidal individuals who have access to guns are at the greatest risk of impulsive, unpredictable suicide. The effect of gun control was forcibly brought to me recently when a nonphysician colleague asked me to provide psychopharmacologic consultation for a young man whose engagement to be married had been abruptly terminated. He had thought of killing himself the previous week and had gone to a sporting goods store to buy a gun. I asked whether he had purchased one. He looked at me disappointedly and said, “No—in New York State it takes six months to get a license… a lot of good that does!”

    Also, see here

  17. It would be interesting to see what this asshat considers a threat. My God, what a pantywetter!

  18. StraightArrow: Make no mistake–I can’t seriously take anything from you as a threat. You may posture and puff up your little chest in righteous indignation and issue forth with what you consider to be threats–but to give them any credence is ridiculous.

    Folks like you are probably very reluctant to leave your mom’s basement. Except for a Cheetosâ„¢ run. And when “24” is on.

    So Jade, do you agree that the availability of guns has little to do with suicide rate

    I posted a reply with two cites; it hasn’t shown up.

    But the upshot is that the availability of guns is certainly not a small factor in suicides.

  19. It’s up now. The spam filter tends to catch comments that have links in them. I de-spammed it. Sorry about that.

  20. Nope, doesn’t follow logic Jadey (See! I can be cute too!). Guns are an effective way of committing suicide but do not cause otherwise normal, non suicidal people to suddenly decide to end their life.

    I’m curious to know what part of the gun you think actually puts off some sort of alpha waves that the brain picks up and converts to suicidal thoughts. Do you also believe in the healing power of crystals? It’s the same logic.

    Yes, some people will kill themselves with a gun. And some of those people wouldn’t do it any other way because they fear the pain of death. A bullet to the brain is a fairly effective way of ending your life without pain and it’s quick. And as unfortunate as those impulse times are, they are an infinitesimally small percentage or at least not large enough to warrant restricting the other 99.9999% of the population.

    And lest you think I’m being cold hearted, suicide has affected me very, very, very personally and I still wouldn’t take away your rights.

  21. And yet the anecdote you provide and the extremely limited data collection of the report (as it itself admits)does nothing to dispute the fact that numerous countries w/ stricter laws have higher suicide rates.

    Still no correlation.

    Thanks for playing.

    Try again.

  22. Actually Jade, while you can make a statistical study more scientifically reliable by increasing the range of its confidence interval, it decreases the real world reliability. One can pretty much guarantee that any scientifically valid study on the issue would have a pretty wide CI both because you have legal gun owners who are unwilling to admit said ownership, and you have everyone who illegally owns a gun as well. And on the off chance that you don’t know what a CI is, you REALLY shouldn’t be discussing the reliability of statistical studies.

  23. Yes, a lot of suicides choose to use firearms as a means to end their life. That is about the same as saying a lot of commuters choose to use their cars to get to work. Sure, there are other options in both cases, but the tool immediately at hand, that you have direct control over, is generally the one people go for.

    That said, I am fairly certain people killed themselves before the advent of firearms, of any variety.

    However, throughout this thread and all of his various lies, half-truths, and misleading statements, JadeGold did manage to utter something approximating a truth:

    But the upshot is that the availability of guns is certainly not a small factor in suicides.

    This is indeed the case – it is not a small factor, it is effectively a negligible factor. It is interesting to note that countries with equal or even more stringent firearm laws than America (Ireland, Australia, Japan, Canada) have as high or higher suicide rates than America’s (18.4, 21.2, 36.5, and 19.5, respectively, to the US’s 17.6). Japan’s is particularly telling, since firearms, of any nature, are illegal in the entirety of the nation (at least to my understanding). And yet they still manage to kill themselves… I wonder how, since they cannot legally access guns?

    Furthermore, consider:

    In this connection, two recent studies are pertinent. In 2004, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences released its evaluation from a review of 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some original empirical research. It failed to identify any gun control that had reduced violent crime, suicide, or gun accidents. (15) The same conclusion was reached in 2003 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s review of then-extant studies. (16)


    The non-correlation between gun ownership and murder is reinforced by examination of statistics from larger numbers of nations across the developed world. Comparison of “homicide and suicide mortality data for thirty-six nations (including the United States) for the period 1990-1995” to gun ownership levels showed “no significant (at the 5% level) association between gun ownership levels and the total homicide rate.” (41) Consistent with this is a later European study of data from 21 nations in which “no significant correlations [of gun ownership levels] with total suicide or homicide rates were found.” (42)

    (Source for both. Sadly, I cannot access the cited sources for the paper, due to its not-whole nature.)

    *shrugs* It is becoming a matter of course that almost anything JadeGold espouses is systematically false, but this is getting tiresome.

    As for the topic at hand, it is somewhat distressing that the suicide rate is climbing among those of the fairer sex… That said, I, too, believe that a person’s life is theirs to do with as they please. One can only hope the root cause of these symptoms will eventually be isolated, and at least understood, if not counteracted.

    Of course, while the studies indicated that the further methods of controlling access to those items would not work, I would wager good money laws doing just that are being considered now, and will eventually be passed (case in point: Kalifornistan’s recent adoption of the microstamping bill). Gogogadget Nanny State!

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