Suicide Deaths Result in Heavy Hearts This February

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Traci Patterson, Director of Communications or 713-523-8963 x 476

Suicide Deaths Result in Heavy Hearts This February

HOUSTON, TX (February 13, 2012)—Hearts are still heavy among the families, friends and fans of 75-year-old Soul Train creator, Don Cornelius and 17-year-old Houston teen, Ashley Duncan. Sadly, both tragically died by suicide—just days apart. While each of their lives were dramatically different, both Cornelius and Duncan had several similarities—both are African American, both represent populations with concerning rates of suicide and both died by suicide using a firearm. The most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the rate of suicide has been increasing since 2000.  Research also indicates that: 

  • Every 14.2 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide and nearly 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt every year.

  • Men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women. 

  • Women attempt suicide 3 times as often as men.

  • The suicide rates for men rise with age, most significantly after age 65.

  • The rate of suicide in men 65+ is seven times that of females who are 65+.

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old.

  • 83 percent of gun-related deaths are the result of a suicide, often by someone other than the gun owner.

  • Firearms are used in more suicides than homicides.

  • Death by firearms is the fastest growing method of suicide.

  • Firearms account for 50 percent of all suicides.

  • 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.

  • An estimated 7 percent of Black teen females will attempt suicide at some point before age 17.

  • Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression.

  • Even though effective treatments are available, only one in three people with depression get help.

Suicide is a serious public health concern. Prevent suicide through early recognition and treatment of depression. Learn what to do if someone you know seems depressed. Take it seriously if someone says they want to kill themselves. Your knowledge and action could save a life.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, there is help available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1800-273-TALK (8255). Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If you are on Facebook and spot a suicidal thought on someone's page, it can be reported to Facebook by clicking a link next to the comment. Facebook then sends an email to the person who posted the comment encouraging that user to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or to click a link for a confidential chat with a crisis counselor.

Mental Health America of Greater Houston, founded by philanthropist Miss Ima Hogg, is the area’s oldest mental health education and advocacy organization. Every year, we connect thousands of individuals and families to information, education and free or low-cost counseling before they are in crisis. For help or more information, contact our Information and Referral Helpline at 713-522-5161 or visit




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