SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES
Suicide is on the decline in Volusia County but rates remain consistently higher than the state’s, according to a report on mental health and suicide released by the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County (DOH-Volusia).
The report examines Volusia County’s suicide rates and youth mental health well-being, including differences among geographic areas and races.
The full report uses data from 2012 through 2016 and is online at volusiahealth.com/stats.
Lowest among Blacks
Suicide rates exhibit stark differences among races. White residents consistently had suicide rates that were two to three times higher than Blacks and Hispanics. Rates were lowest among Black residents.
Geographically the highest suicide rate was in southeast quadrant of Volusia County. Rates were lowest in the northwest and southwest corners of the county.
The report was compiled using data from the Florida Department of Health Vital Statistics death files and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration hospitalization file.
Mental health well-being among Volusia’s middle and high school students partially was assessed on a Florida Youth Tobacco Survey. The middle school student response patterns closely resemble high school students when looking at feelings of hopelessness and self-harm.
The report does not examine cause and effect relationships. The department prepares these types of health reports for use by community partners who serve various populations or address health risks.
Reports also help to raise awareness among the general public, according to Patricia Boswell, DOH-Volusia administrator.
For information on suicide prevention training, contact Melissa Witmeier, director of training and community engagement at the Florida Linking Individuals Needing Care Project, at firstname.lastname@example.org.