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Graphs used in the Fighting Suicide with Science article

Fighting Suicide with Science

UNH grad student in nation's first psychological autopsy examiner

Michael Staley didn’t plan to be the first person in America to have his job, but his life experiences were preparing him for exactly that.

Staley, a doctoral candidate in sociology at UNH, has been making headlines for his work as Utah’s psychological autopsy examiner, a post in the Office of the Medical Examiner that was created by the legislature in direct response to the state’s suicide problem.

Headlines about celebrity suicides have been dominating recent news cycles, and a Centers for Disease Control study indicates suicide rates have been on the climb across the country in the past 20 years. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), referencing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, which examined data from 1999 to 2016, lists suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second most common cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. In the 17-year period covered by the CDC report, the suicide rate increased 28 percent.

Staley’s first-of-its-kind job is aimed at changing those statistics in Utah and could provide a blueprint for other states.

To read the rest of the article please visit the Fighting Suicide with Science article written by Jennifer Saunders | Communications and Public Affairs