Headlines from the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets in Southern California convey the grim reality that suicide impacts the lives of many different types of people.
- Man Throws Wife to Street, Kills Self
- Slaying Suspect Barricades Self, Commits Suicide
- Man, 35, Dies in Leap From Downtown Courthouse
- Actor Jerry Van Dyke’s Daughter Found Hanged
- Studio Shooting Blamed on Business Deal
- Teen Stages Suicide in Front of Classmates
A Note About Suicide Rate Data
Two important facts must be borne in mind when it comes to examining suicide rates:
- There is a lag of about two to three years in the release of annual data about suicide rates in Los Angeles, and elsewhere in California. This lag exists because of the amount of time necessary to collect, verify, compile, prepare, and release statistical data.
- An attempt is made to consider the underreporting of suicide in collecting data. In some cases, suicides are not reported because of the persistent social stigma that remains attached to this manner of death. This reality can somewhat skew data regarding suicide rates downward.
Contrasting California and Los Angeles Suicide Rates
Before undertaking a closer look at suicide rates and trends in Los Angeles, contrasting this data with the rest of California is revealing. The rate in Los Angeles is consistently lower than the overall California suicide rate. California’s Superior Region has the highest suicide rate in the state, at approximately 20 deaths per 100,000 residents. Los Angeles is at the lowest end of the statewide spectrum, with approximately 8 suicides per 100,000 residents.
Existing Vetted Los Angeles County Suicide Rates
The suicide rate in the greater Los Angeles area is lower than the national and state averages. As discussed a moment ago, the suicide rate in Los Angeles is about 25 percent of the highest rate in California. Nonetheless, an average of two residents of Los Angeles county dies at their own hands every day of the year, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The suicide rate in LA outpaces deaths caused by other means, including drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents, and homicides.
The health department specifically reports the following death rates (utilizing information from the last year in which data is fully vetted):
- Suicide – 779
- Drug overdoses – 758
- Motor vehicle accidents – 711
- Homicides – 564
The health department does note that monitoring of suicide trends in LA indicates that there has not been a significant flux, one way or another when it comes to the suicide rate in this part of California.
Although the overall LA suicide rate is lower in the city than elsewhere in California, the breakdown by age and gender in Los Angeles generally tracks the rest of the state, according to the Rand Corporation:
- Adults 20 to 59 account for approximately 70 percent of suicides in Los Angeles.
- Adults over 60 accounts for approximately 26 percent of suicides in Los Angeles.
- People under 18 accounts for under 5 percent of Los Angeles suicides.
Suicide Support Services
Suicide Prevention Center
672 S La Fayette Park Place
Los Angeles, California 90057
Suicide 24-Hour Crisis Intervention
4760 Sepulveda Boulevard
Culver City, California 90230
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline