In a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC reported that suicide is the top cause of deaths tied to traumatic brain injury. The CDC reported there were 61,000 traumatic brain injury linked deaths in 2017 and that nearly half of these deaths were caused by suicide.
The CDC analyzed death data from National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) over an 18-year period (2000-2017). Injuries were characterized by intent, and unintentional injuries were further characterized by mechanism of injury. From 2015 to 2017, 44% of TBI-related deaths were categorized as intentional injuries (i.e., homicides or suicides). During the last 10 years of the study period, suicides surpassed unintentional motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury-related death. This shift was caused in part by a 32% increase in TBI-related suicide deaths among non-Hispanic whites. The leading categories of traumatic injury-related deaths included unintentional motor vehicle crashes, unintentional falls, and homicide.
The findings of this study suggest that tailored prevention efforts might be needed to help reduce the prevalence of TBI among different groups at risk for injury. The CDC concluded, “understanding the leading contributors to TBI-related death and identifying groups at increased risk is important in preventing this injury. Healthcare providers can play an important role in assessing patients at increased risk, such as those at risk for suicide, unintentional motor vehicle crashes, or unintentional falls, and provide referrals or tailored interventions.”
The study is titled, “Death Rates Due to Suicide and Homicide Among Persons Aged 10–24: United States, 2000–2017” by Sally C. Curtin, M.A., and Melonie Heron, Ph.D.
The report can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db352-h.pdf and at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db352.htm