suicide; completed suicides; attempted suicides; prevention and control; Georgia; statistics and numerical data; racial groups; race; alcoholism; alcohol abuse; substance abuse


Clinical Epidemiology | Epidemiology | Health Services Research | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Substance Abuse and Addiction



For patients with self-harm, suicide attempt, or suicide completion, the trauma bay is often the single point of contact. Regional differences and patterns exist for suicide that should be studied to enhance preventive strategies. Our goal was to critically evaluate the suicidal population of Southeast Georgia over a 9-year period.


A retrospective review of our trauma database from January 2010 through December 2019 was conducted at a Level I Trauma Center. All ages were included. All patients arriving with attempted suicide or death due to a suicidal complication were included. Patients with deaths highly suspicious for suicide were also included. Exclusion criteria included accidental motor vehicle death, accidental generalized deaths, and accidental drowning. Age, gender, race, ethnicity, mechanism of injury (MOI), death rates, length of stay (LOS), injury severity score (ISS), home zip code, day of the week, transfer vs. from scene, location of injury, alcohol levels, and urine drug screening results were analyzed.


From 2010 to 2019, there were 381 total suicides with 260 survivals and 121 completions (mortality: 31.7%) at our Level I Trauma Center. The majority of suicides were performed by middle-aged White men with an average age of 40 years (SD: 17.2). This was true even if the White race was not the majority race in the patient’s zip code. The majority of the time, these patients presented directly from the scene and, if the patient’s suicide location was known, it usually took place at their home. Other common areas included secluded areas, such as wooded areas, and personal vehicles. Of the suicides, 11.6% were performed within the criminal justice system including jail and solitary confinement. The average LOS following admission was 7.51 days (SD: 22.1). The majority of suicides came from the metro Savannah district, which has higher unemployment and poverty rates than other parts of our study area. Gun violence was the most common MOI for suicide (75%). If suicide was attempted via a penetrating mechanism including glass, knife, or gun, there was an increased rate of death when compared to our general data (38% vs. 31%). When the gun mechanisms were analyzed as a group, there was a 57% rate of death after arrival at the hospital. Acute alcohol intoxication was present in 56.6% of patients and 80 (21%) had drugs in their system.


Our data demonstrate epidemiologic and socioeconomic trends in Southeast Georgia. This included increased alcohol intoxication, deaths related to gun use, and in a higher incidence of suicide among White males, including geographic locations where the White race is not the majority. Suicides and suicide attempts were also more common in areas with higher unemployment rates.