Suicide is ranked eighth as a cause of death in the United States and is the third leading cause of death in the 15- to 24-year age group. Schizophrenia, along with depression, is an important risk factor for suicide and attempted suicide. The incidence of suicide in 1994 has been estimated along with the 1994 projected costs of suicide and suicide attempts. The projected number of completed suicides for 1994 was over 32,000, with an estimated 109,500 hospitalizations for suicide attempts. Completed suicides resulted in direct costs and indirect costs relating to loss of earnings, with the total cost estimated at over $397,000 (U.S.) per suicide. Suicide attempts incur greater direct costs during hospitalization and a percentage of patients will suffer permanent disability requiring long-term care and loss of earnings; total costs averaged over $33,000 (U.S.) per attempt. Major cost savings may be achieved by targeting the prevention of suicide. Further research is needed to improve our understanding of suicide.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. D. A. Revicki at MEDTAP International, 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 802, Arlington, VA 22201, U.S.A.
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