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2017 Annual Meeting

September 12–14, 2017

Aurora, Colorado

The links below contained detailed information for the upcoming 2017 Safe States Alliance Annual Meeting, taking place September 12-14, 2017 in Aurora, Colorado.

Please note:

Surveillance and Epidemiology of Suicide Deaths in 18 States using the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS)

Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 8:00 AM–9:15 AM MDT
Conference Room 2
Learning Objectives

1. Become familiar with the NVDRS including types of violent deaths, data sources, and variables collected in the system.

2. Describe the overall picture of violent death and suicide among the 18 NVDRS states.

3. Explore and discuss relevant suicide prevention strategies based on the data.

Statement of Purpose

To examine the magnitude and epidemiology of suicide deaths among 18 NVDRS states; describe suicide data overall; and identify differences and similarities between states. 


The CDC Restricted Access Database was obtained containing 2013-2014 de-identified data for 18 states (AK, CO, GA, KY, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, UT, VA, and WI). Data were analyzed to provide an overview of all violent deaths and a detailed look at suicide. Suicide rates, methods, circumstances, and other factors were analyzed for various demographic groups. State profiles were created and similarities and differences between the 18 states were explored.


Nearly 28,000 suicides were included, representing 66% of all violent deaths in the 18 states. Suicides outnumbered homicides in all states. State suicide rates ranged from 22.7 (AK) to 8.5 per 100,000 (NJ). In all 18 states, the suicide rate among males was at least 3.2 times higher than females. A total of 450 homicide-suicide incidents were identified resulting in 976 deaths; 81% were related to intimate partner problems or violence. Firearms were the leading suicide method in all but three states (RI, NJ, and MA). On average, 17% of suicide victims were identified as veterans. Nearly half (47%) of suicide victims had a current mental health condition and 30% were currently being treated for a mental health or substance abuse problem. Thirty-nine percent of those tested were positive for alcohol, 38% were positive for antidepressants, 32% for benzodiazepines, and 28% for opiates at the time of the death.

Conclusions & Significance to the Field

The burden of suicide death was substantial in all 18 states. Firearms were the leading suicide method in most states. Mental health and substance abuse problems were frequently cited circumstances. Toxicology results indicated that alcohol and other drugs were often involved in the deaths. The NVDRS is a valuable source of state-level suicide data available in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. State injury programs can use these data to better inform prevention strategies and collaborate with partners charged with suicide prevention.


Ms. Sheryll J Brown, MPH, Consultant/Advisor

Sheryll Brown received an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma, College of Public Health. She served more than 20 years with the Oklahoma Injury Prevention Service until 2016. Her experience includes developing, implementing, and evaluating a variety of injury surveillance and prevention programs, including the Oklahoma Violent Death Reporting System. She currently serves as Chair of the Oklahoma Injury Prevention Advisory Committee. In 2016, she was a consultant/advisor to Safe States on a special project using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System Restricted Access Database.


Ms. Brittany Grogan, MPH, Medical College of Wisconsin
Kristen Lindemer, MPH, Safe States Alliance

Primary Contact

Ms. Sheryll J Brown, MPH, Consultant/Advisor