More New Yorkers kill themselves than are killed by other people or die in motor vehicle accidents, according to a new NYC Health Department report.
While suicide rates in the Big Apple are about half the national rate, they have increased 2.3% per year between 2008 and 2014, mirroring national upticks.
Suicide rates of men remain steady locally, but the suicide rate of women has increased 56% since 2000, with women between the ages of 45 and 64 the most likely to kill themselves.
In 2014, at least 393 males and 172 females committed suicide in NYC.
The boroughs of Manhattan and Queens both saw increases: The rate of suicide in Manhattan rose from 5.7 per 100,000 people in the year 2000 to 7.6 per 100,000 people in 2014, and in Queens from 4.3 to 5.7 per 100,000 people during that same period.
Citywide, neighborhoods in which 10% to 20% of residents earn less than the federal poverty level had the highest rate of suicide (7.8 per 100,000) with the wealthiest neighborhoods having the lowest (3.8).
If there is a bright spot, it is that NYC’s stringent gun control laws lower not only the risk of homicide, but suicide: Guns were used in only 10% of all self-inflicted deaths in NYC in 2014, while they are the agent of choice for half of all suicides nationwide.
The most common methods of suicide in New Yorkers in 2014 involved hanging, strangulation, suffocation and leaping from a high place, representing half of all suicides by Asians and Latinos and 41% of suicides overall.
“We’re not reaching New Yorkers early enough, when they need support,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, said in a statement, noting that ThriveNYC, First Lady Chirlane McCray’s initiative, is raising awareness and enhancing mental health services. “If you or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to call 1-800-LIFENET. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911,” Bassett advised.