Updated for 2015! The 2015 N.C. Suicide Prevention Plan is the result of a collaborative 16-month process among staff members within the Division of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior, and the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. Utilizing the input of approximately 180 diverse suicide prevention stakeholders, the plan’s primary purpose is to empower all North Carolinians with knowledge and to highlight examples of the actions they can take to reduce suicide. An Executive Summary of the plan and a presentation of data (PDF, 672 KB) included in the plan are also available.

Preparing communities, organizations, and individuals to skillfully reach out to help others in need is an important responsibility, and one that can help prevent suicides. Dying by suicide is an all-too-common occurrence in North Carolina. Though rarely talked about or reported, suicides outnumber homicides two-to-one, resulting in nearly 1,200 suicides in North Carolina each year.1

Proven strategies exist to prevent suicide, with many interventions focusing on training people to learn the signs and symptoms of depression, and what they can do to help. Over a quarter of people who died by suicide had disclosed their suicidal intention to someone else before their death.1

While it is crucial for individuals to take responsibility for helping people they come into contact with, there is an even greater promise for interventions that work to protect large groups of people.

What can be done to prevent suicide?

  • Work with the NC Board of Education to identify ways for teachers and other school personnel to be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression among young people.
  • Ensure mental health services are affordable and accessible to all North Carolinians.
  • Identify the state’s lead agency for suicide prevention and create a document detailing the responsibilities for that agency.
  • Improve data linkage across agencies and organizations, including hospitals, psychiatric and other medical institutions, and police departments, to better capture information on suicide attempts.
  • Ensure the recommendations outlined by North Carolina’s plan for preventing suicide are implemented by providing sufficient resources. The plan is under development in 2014.

Facts about suicide in North Carolina:

  • Among young adults aged 15 to 24, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death. For adults 25 to 44, suicide was the fifth leading cause of death.1
  • Sixty-six percent (1,177) of the 1,790 violent deaths in NC were suicides.2
  • Over half of suicides (60%) were completed using firearms.2

For More Information:
Jane Ann Miller, MPH
Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Public Health
Injury and Violence Prevention Branch
Raleigh, North Carolina 27609-3809


  1. North Carolina Injury & Violence Prevention Branch. (October 2012). NC Violent Death Reporting System Annual Report 2015. Retrieved from http://www.injuryfreenc.ncdhhs.gov/DataSurveillance/2010VDRSAnnualReport.pdf
  2. North Carolina Injury & Violence Prevention Branch. (September 2012). Suicide in North Carolina Fact Sheet 2015. Retrieved from http://www.injuryfreenc.ncdhhs.gov/DataSurveillance/VDRS/NC-VDRSSuicideFactSheet2010.pdf.
  3. Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2012). About Suicide. Retrieved from http://www.sprc.org/basics/about-suicide