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Stamford Suicide Rates on the Rise

STAMFORD, Conn. — No matter where the blame goes – the bad economy, deep depression or staggering social pressures – suicides in Fairfield County, including in Stamford, are at a 20-year high, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Connecticut.

About 371 suicides were reported in Connecticut in 2011 – a rate of more than one per day. It was the most cases reported since 1991, when the office recorded 362 suicides in the state.

Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin has seen an increase in suicides and suicide attempts but said there are no definite common threads in the cases. Isolation played a part in the murder-suicide on Long Ridge Road and an attempted murder-suicide on Sylvan Knoll Road , both of which took place earlier this year, he said.

“They saw it as their only solution,” Conklin said. In both cases, adult children were taking care of elderly parents with health problems.

The number of attempts among youth in the city, which are usually cries for attention or help, are also a concern to Conklin. “It’s like they’re going through the motions,” he said.

Fairfield County saw the third most suicides last year, with 64 out of a population of about 918,714, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New Haven County had the most, with 99 suicides reported out of about 862,989 people, followed by Hartford County with 87 suicides out of 894,478.

Looking nationwide, however, Connecticut was ranked 47th out of all states in 2009, at a rate of nine per 100,000. Though Connecticut may be low in completed suicides, it had the second-highest rate of reported suicide attempts in the nation, according to a report released in October by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During this time, 1 percent of Connecticut residents surveyed said they had attempted suicide, compared with the national average of 0.5 percent. The highest rate – 1.5 percent – was in Rhode Island.

Of those attempts in Connecticut during 2008 and 2009, 1.3 percent was female and 0.6 percent was male. In addition, 3 percent was Hispanic; 0.3 percent was black; and 0.8 was white.

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