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Connecticut Suicide Rate Reaches 20-Year High; 371 Suicides In State In 2011

Ambulance (file / credit: clipart.com)

Ambulance (file/credit: clipart.com)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork / AP) - Connecticut’s suicide rate continues to rise and hit a 20-year high in 2011, WCBS 880 Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

The state’s chief medical examiner’s office said there were 371 suicides last year — an average of more than one per day.

Experts blame the economic downturn, in part, for the rising suicide rate, Schneidau reported.

The increase in suicides has raised the concern of of Mary Drexler, who heads the National Organization for Crisis Centers.

Drexler told Schneidau that the highest risk seems to be from middle-aged to older adults — many of whom choose firearms to end their lives – while young adults tend to kill themselves by hanging or suffocation.

Drexler said if you notice a friend battling depression, don’t hesitate to reach out and speak up.

“Just say to them ‘Look, I’m really concerned about you. Are you really thinking of killing yourself?’ Don’t be afraid to ask a question. It is a myth that if you ask it, you’re planting the seed in their head,” she said.

The state’s rate is low compared with other states. The most recent national figures show Connecticut ranked 47th in suicides among states in 2009 with a rate of nine per 100,000 people.

New Haven County had the highest number of suicides last year with 99, followed by Hartford County with 87.

Are you surprised by the increased suicide rate in Conn.? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.