NW PA Counties graphicThe Northwest Pennsylvania (NW PA) Veteran Suicide Prevention Program operates on a three-pronged approach involving healthcare providers, community organizations, and Veterans and their families in the 15 counties of NW PA. Because of this focus, we’d like to share the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention recently released suicide fact sheet for Pennsylvania. We encourage everyone to review this information, share within personal and professional networks, and get involved in stigma-reduction and suicide prevention efforts in their communities.

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): Established in 1987, AFSP is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.

Read time: 3 minutes

A pdf of the fact sheet is available for download.

2020 Suicide Data: Pennsylvania

2020 Pennsylvania suicide data

Suicide is a public health problem and leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide can also be prevented – more investment in suicide prevention, education, and research will prevent the untimely deaths of thousands of Americans each year. Unless otherwise noted, this fact sheet reports 2020 data from the CDC, the most current verified data available at time of publication (March 2022). Data highlighted in the report includes the following:

Suicide is the 13th leading cause of death in Pennsylvania.

  • 3rd leading cause for those ages 10-24, and 25-34
  • 4th leading cause for ages 35-44
  • 5th leading cause for ages 45-54
  • 9th leading cause for ages 55-64
  • 19th leading cause for ages 65+

Nationally, in 2020 there were 45,979 reported deaths by suicide with a 13.48 rate per 100,000. In comparison, Pennsylvania had 1,694 reported suicide deaths with a 12.55 rate per 100,000.

Additional facts about Pennsylvania 2020 suicide rates:

  • 54% of all suicides were by firearms
  • 52% of all firearm deaths were suicides
  • Over 6 times as many people died by suicide in 2019 than in alcohol related motor vehicle accidents
  • 59.14% of communities did not have enough mental health providers to serve residents in 2021, according to federal guidelines
  • The total deaths to suicide reflected a total of 31,784 years of potential life lost before age 65.

For a full list of citations, visit afsp.org/statistics.

Looking to Get Involved?

Whether you identify as a healthcare provider, community organization, or Veteran, there are several opportunities through the NW PA Veteran Suicide Prevention Program and PERU to connect to resources, participate in educational training, and promote harm reduction strategies. We are actively recruiting healthcare and community partners to work with us in meeting our goals and objectives. To learn more, visit the program website at theresilientveteran.org.

Need Help? Know Someone Who Does? Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat. Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.

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