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Suicide Deaths by County, New Mexico, 2015-2019

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Why Is This Important?

Suicidal behaviors are a serious public health problem and a major cause of morbidity and mortality in New Mexico. In 2018, suicide was the ninth leading cause of death in NM, the second leading cause of death by age group for persons 5-34 years of age and the fourth leading cause of death by age group for persons 35-44 years of age. Suicide accounted for 15,048 Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL), fourth after unintentional injuries, cancer, and heart disease deaths. The YPLL is a measure of premature mortality in a population that describes the impact of injury-related deaths on a society compared to other causes of death. Suicide deaths have been increasing in both New Mexico and the United States, with suicide death rates in NM at least 50% higher than U.S. rates over the past 20 years. Mental disorders, particularly clinical depression, increase the risk for both attempted suicide and suicide. Other risk factors associated with suicide include a previous suicide attempt, alcohol and substance abuse, a family history of suicide, a history of child maltreatment, feelings of hopelessness, isolation, barriers to mental health treatment, loss (of relationships, social connections, work, finances), physical illness, and easy access to lethal methods, such as firearms.

Suicide Deaths by County, New Mexico, 2015-2019

From 2013-2017, 20 NM counties had age-adjusted suicide rates that were significantly higher than the 2016 U.S. rate. NM counties with the highest suicide rates included Catron, Hidalgo, Grant and Sierra Counties in the Southwest; Quay County in the Southeast; and Taos, San Miguel and Torrance Counties in the Northeast.

Definition

The suicide death rate is defined as the number of deaths attributed to suicide per 100,000 population. Suicide deaths for 1995-1998 were defined by underlying cause of death based on International Classification of Diseases, version 9 (ICD-9) codes; and suicide deaths for 1999 and later were defined by underlying cause of death based on International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD-10) codes.

Data Notes

Rates have been age-adjusted using the direct method and the 2000 U.S. standard population.

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Death Data: Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS), Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health.
    (https://www.nmhealth.org/about/erd/bvrhs/vrp/)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC WONDER Online Database
    (http://wonder.cdc.gov)
  • New Mexico Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program.
    (http://gps.unm.edu/)

How the Measure is Calculated

  • Numerator:

    The total number of suicide deaths per year.
  • Denominator:

    The estimated mid-year population.

Data Issues

  • Death Certificate Data

    Death certificate information is submitted electronically by funeral directors, who obtain demographic information from an informant, a close family member of the decedent. The NMDOH Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS) does annual trainings for funeral directors and local registrars and the death certificate information goes through extensive scrutiny for completeness and consistency. The cause of death is certified by the decedent's physician or the physician that attended the death. Accidental and suspicious deaths are certified by the Office of the Medical Investigator. When death certificates are received the cause of death literals are keyed into software locally by the BVRHS, then shipped to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) where they are machine coded into ICD-10 cause-of-death codes. NCHS returns the ICD-10 codes to BVRHS where the death records are updated.

  • New Mexico Population Estimates

    All population estimates apply to July 1 of the selected year. These estimates are considered the most accurate estimates for the state of New Mexico and should match those found on the University of New Mexico Geospatial and Population Studies website. Estimates include decimal fractions. Census tract population estimates were summed to produce County and Small Area population estimates. Population estimate totals may vary due to rounding. Population estimates for previous years are occasionally revised as new information becomes available. When publishing trend data, always be sure that your rates for earlier years match current rates on NM-IBIS that have been calculated with the most up-to-date population estimates.

Health Topic Pages Related to: Suicide Death

Indicator Data Last Updated On 12/12/2018, Published on 03/29/2022
Injury Epidemiology, Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 S. Saint Francis Drive, Room N1106, P.O. Box 26110, Santa Fe, NM, 87502. Contact Tierney Murphy, by telephone at (505) 827-6816 or email to Tierney.Murphy@state.nm.us.