Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Suicides in 2007 Projected to Cost $48 Billion in 2012 Dollars

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Suicides in 2007 Projected to Cost $48 Billion in 2012 Dollars

Article excerpt

AT THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SUICIDOLOGY

BALTIMORE--The 35,000 American suicides that occurred in 2007 as well as attempted suicides that year cost the United States a total of roughly $48 billion in direct and indirect expenses.

This economic impact highlights the potential financial benefit from allocating additional resources toward suicide prevention, Donald S. Shepard, Ph.D., said at the meeting.

"Investment in additional medical and counseling services would be relatively inexpensive and would likely reduce these national costs. It would pay for itself in economic terms, and it would also pay for itself many times 'over in human terms," said Dr. Shepard, a health economist and professor of health policy at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.

Dr. Shepard identified three primary opportunities for suicide prevention that he derived from the analysis:

* Strengthen the capacity of emergency departments to identify patients at risk.

* Strengthen the availability of community-based providers to treat patients at risk.

* Strengthen the linkage between acute care and community-based behavioral-health delivery systems to ensure continuity of care.

To make their cost estimate, Dr. …

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