San Francisco Area: Suicide Data and Statistics

Goals

To understand the statistics and data surrounding suicide in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the number of attempted and completed suicide attempts each year, the number of people in the area suffering from a mental illness which may lead to suicide, how many people are impacted by suicide each year (including friends, family, children of victims), annual spend on prevention methods, etc.

Early Findings

SUICIDE STATISTICS AND DATA

  • In 2017, 33 people completed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. An additional 245 people attempted, but were assisted by members of the bridge patrol team who were able to prevent them from completing their attempt.
  • This is a decrease in successful attempts from 2016, when 39 people completed suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge, and only 184 were successfully prevented by members of the bridge patrol team.
  • Throughout the entirety of the United States, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death.
  • California has one of the lowest death-by-suicide rates in the country, with 4,294 suicide deaths occurring in the state in 2016. Comparatively, there are a total of about 44,000 suicide deaths in the United States each year.
  • There are approximately 100 suicide deaths in San Francisco each year.
  • Since being erected in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge has been the site of nearly 1,700 completed suicide attempts.
  • It's estimated that in 2017, there were 1.4 million total suicide attempts in the United States, of which just over 40,000 people completed suicide.
  • California has an annual suicide rate of 10.5 out of every 100,000 people. In San Francisco, the rate is 11.3 out of every 100,000 people.
  • While data on the number of suicide attempts in San Francisco alone could not be found during our preliminary research into this subject, we have calculated an estimate using the above data. Assuming the same percentages apply to San Francisco as the entire United States, and utilizing the data above showing that there are about 100 suicide deaths in the city each year, then there would be just under 3,500 suicide attempts in San Francisco each year. We reached this estimate by finding first that 40,000 is about 2.86 percent of 1.4 million. From there, we found that 100 is 2.86 percent of 3,496.5 (a percentage calculator was used to complete all calculations relevant to these estimates.).
  • FINANCIAL DATA

    • The City of San Francisco is currently working on building a barrier which would prevent people from successfully jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. The "385,000-square-foot, stainless steel net" is anticipated to cost $211 million.
    • "San Francisco currently budgets $370 million a year toward mental health care and substance use disorder treatment, investing in more than 300 different programs."

    TREATMENT STATISTICS AND DATA

  • The City of San Francisco is working to implement free mental health and substance abuse treatment for all citizens, a move which would likely help to decrease the number of suicide attempts and completed suicides in the city each year.
  • "According to a 2016 survey by the San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership, 23 percent of all San Francisco residents struggle with their emotional health." The impact is more severe for low-income citizens, "who were 2.5 times more inclined to report “serious psychological distress” compared to their wealthier counterparts".
  • Proposed next steps:

    You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
    Initial research into this topic was able to find significant data concerning the number of attempted and completed suicides in the United States, California, and San Francisco each year. While data does not appear to be available on the number of people who are unable to complete suicide initially, but go on to successfully complete later in San Francisco specifically, we believe that an estimate could be calculated using existing data about the number of suicide attempts and completions in San Francisco, as well as country-wide data concerning the number of people who go on to successfully complete suicide later. As such, we would recommend continued research into this subject.
    We would also recommend continued research into the subject of overall mental health statistics in San Francisco, including information on which conditions put individuals at the highest risk of suicide. Specifically, we'd recommend research identifying the 3-5 most common mental health conditions diagnosed in San Francisco, as well as the 3-5 conditions with the highest suicide risk.
    Finally, we would recommend continued research into the amount of money spent annually in San Francisco on suicide prevention and mental health treatment.