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September 11, 2012

Deborah Lynch
Communications Officer
California State Library
(916) 651-6452

California State Library finds substantial differences in pre-suicide circumstances between veterans and non-veterans

SACRAMENTO – September 9-15, 2012 is National Suicide Prevention Week. In conjunction with this event, and in partnership with the California Department of Public Health, the California State Library's California Research Bureau has released a new Short Subject Series Brief: Characteristics of Suicide: Data from California's Electronic Violent Death Reporting System (CalEVDRS).

Although this study was conducted to analyze suicide statistics in general, findings indicate that proportionately more veterans commit suicide than non-veterans and that they were more likely to be male. Veterans were also less likely to have been diagnosed with mental health problems than non-veterans and more likely to have had physical health problems prior to their suicide.

The California Research Bureau (CRB) evaluated the data collected by CalEVDRS on suicides in California to give legislators and policy makers the information they need to enact suicide prevention programs. This appears to be a priority for California voters who passed Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act in 2004. To collect the statistics needed, CalEVDRS compiled data from coroner's reports, police investigations, and death certificates. The brief used information from nine counties around the state who provided complete data from 2009.

According to this brief's author, Jason Van Court, this information is important because it will help ".increase our understanding of the relatively higher rates of suicides among our California veteran population which is of critical importance to the Legislature and Governor at this time." .

This CRB report can be found at:

About the California State Library: Founded in 1850, the California State Library has for 162 years been the central reference and research library for the Governor's office, legislature, state employees, and the general public. The State Library administers federal and state grants for programs in historical preservation, library construction, civil liberties education, literacy, volunteering, and broadband connectivity in public libraries. For more information, please visit .