157067 Unique patterns of suicide completions and attempts among the White Mountain Apache tribal youth

Monday, November 5, 2007

Allison Barlow, MPH, MA , Center for American Indian Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
N. Katy Aday, MSW , Whiteriver Service Unit, Whiteriver, AZ
Britta Mullany, PhD , Center for American Indian Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Elena Varipatis Baker, MPH, MSW , Center for American Indian Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Kathleen Norton, MA , Center for American Indian Health, Johns Hopkins University, Whiteriver, AZ
Mariddie Craig , White Mountain Apache Tribe, Whiteriver, AZ
John Walkup, MD , Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY
Background: Suicide is a leading disparity among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth. Rates of suicidal behavior vary markedly across tribes. In January 2001, the White Mountain Apache Tribe became the first population in the U.S. to mandate community-wide reporting of suicide completions, attempts and ideation. Methods: A common suicide registry form is used by tribal agencies to report suicidal events to a Suicide Prevention Coalition. Data are entered weekly into an electronic database. Patterns in age, gender, methods, and potential triggers have been analyzed for 2001-2006 with assistance from Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. Results: From 2001 to 2006, 40 suicide completions were reported among a reservation-based population of ~15,000. The majority (24 of 40, or 60%) were youth (<25 years of age). In 2005, 159 (68%) of the 235 reported cases of attempted suicide (AS) were <25 years. In 2006, 103 (64%) of the 160 AS cases were <25 years. Annual average completion rates among 15-24 year olds were approximately 118/100,000. Male youth completions exceeded female completions by 5:1. Male-to-female youth attempts were ~1:1. Hanging was the primary method (88%) of completion (21/24 youth). Conflict with partners, family members and/or loss of loved one were the triggers most often noted by AS youth cases. Conclusions: Several suicide characteristics and patterns found among the White Mountain Apache contrast with those of the U.S. population. These findings may shed light on cultural or social underpinnings of suicidality and inform prevention strategies in this and other high-risk populations.

Learning Objectives:
To identify suicide patterns and characteristics found during a review of White Moutain Apache Tribal suicide registry data from 2001-2006. To recognize differences between White Mountain Apache-specific suicide trends and suicide trends from the general US population. To consider suicide pattern differences and their implications on the development of suicide prevention strategies.

Keywords: Suicide, American Indians

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.