Syndromic Surveillance of Suicidal Ideation and Self-Directed Violence - United States, January 2017-December 2018.


Suicide is a growing public health problem in the United States, claiming approximately 47,000 lives in 2017 (1). However, deaths from suicide represent only a small part of a larger problem because each year millions of persons experience suicidal ideation and engage in suicidal and nonsuicidal self-directed violence, both risk factors for suicide (2). Emergency departments (EDs) are an important setting for monitoring these events in near real time (3-5). From 2001 to 2016, ED visit rates for nonfatal self-harm increased 42% among persons aged ≥10 years (1). Using data from CDC's National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP), ED visits for suicidal ideation, self-directed violence, or both among persons aged ≥10 years during January 2017-December 2018 were examined by sex, age group, and U.S. region. During the 24-month period, the rate of ED visits for suicidal ideation, self-directed violence, or both increased 25.5% overall, with an average increase of 1.2% per month. Suicide prevention requires comprehensive and multisectoral approaches to addressing risk at personal, relationship, community, and societal levels. ED syndromic surveillance data can provide timely trend information and can support more targeted and prompt public health investigation and response. CDC's Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices includes tailored suicide prevention strategies for health care settings (6).