Between 1994-1998, some 34 suicides were reported in Polk, making the county one of 13 counties in the state having a suicide rate significantly higher than the national rate.
These statistics are reported by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, and have been compiled into a resource book-let entitled “Suicide in Georgia 2000.”
Polk also reported 22 of the suicides occurring with the use of a firearm.
Although neighboring coun-ties like Bartow and Floyd, who reported 41 and 49 suicides, respectively, during the same time period, showed higher rates, Polk lead the Coosa area due to the number of deaths when compared to the county population.
Other counties reporting high rates were Carroll, Lumpkin, Fannin, Pickens, Harris, Wil-kinson, Twiggs, Wayne, Ware, Bleckley, Bryan and Tattnall.
Counties included in North-west Georgia with Polk are: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding and Walker.
The “Suicide” pamphlet also has a county by county chart which compares the suicide rates statewide.
Further statistics report that an average of 848 Georgians per year died from suicide from 1994-98 and 18 percent more Georgians died from suicide than homicide.
Suicide is the ninth most common cause of death in the state, behind heart disease, stroke, unintentional injury, pneumonia, diabetes and HIV.
Other state findings suggest that suicide rates are five times higher for males than females and two times higher for whites than for blacks.
About 15 percent of suicide deaths in Georgia occur among people 15-24 years of age.
The large number of deaths and the potential preventability of suicide have established it as a public health priority.
Governor Roy Barnes and the Georgia Legislature have set aside $250,000 to develop a plan to prevent suicide in the state.
The “Suicide” report pro-vides information about the burden of suicide in Georgia, describing the sex, race and age characteristics of those who die from suicide, the methods most commonly used and death rates for each county.
Additionally, SPAN USA (Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network), a Georgia-based non-profit organization, is promot-ing the state’s report. The agency is calling to action or-ganizations, businesses and individuals to join the state’s Suicide Prevention Advisory Council and help combat the state problem.
SPAN can be reached by call-ing 1-888-649-1366 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Information can also be found on the web-site www.spanusa.org.