Depression & Suicide

There were 46 deaths by suicide in New Orleans in 2017

White Male:  24

White Female:  5

Black Male:  11

Black Female:  4

Hispanic Male:  1

Vietnamese Male:  1

Statistics on Suicide

  • Recent high profile suicides spotlight a larger and increasing problem in the United States – suicide
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.
  • Suicide has increased 27% in the last 15 years
  • Over 80% of those who died by suicide had been seen by a health professional in the prior year
  • Almost 40% of those who died by suicide had an ER visit without a mental health diagnosis
  • At least two-thirds of suicide deaths occur within about 30 days of a medical contact
  • Close to one-half of individuals who died by suicide visited a primary care provider in the month before their death

Statistics on Depression

  • Is not a normal part of aging
  • It is a medical problem that affects many older adults
  • Can often be successfully treated
  • Up to 5% of older adults in the community meet diagnostic criteria for major depression
  • Up to 15% have clinically significant depressive symptoms that impact their functioning
  • Depression is significantly higher in older adults with medical illnesses
  • In those who get services from aging service providers, recent studies found 27% of older adults assessed by aging service providers met criteria for having current major depression
  • Is often under recognized and under treated in older adults
  • Is linked to several important risk factors

Depression Risk Factors

  • Cognitive impairment or dementia
  • Medication side effects
  • Alcohol or prescription medication misuse or abuse
  • Prior depressive episode, or family history of depression
  • Medical illness (particularly chronic health conditions)
  • perceived poor health, disability or chronic pain
  • Progressive/disabling sensory loss
  • History of recurrent falls
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Extended or long-standing bereavement
  • Stressful life events
  • Dissatisfaction with one’s social network


Research and statistics provided by the New Orleans Coroner’s Office.
Danna Doughty, B.A., M.A.
Rachel Gagliano, Mental Health Director
Peoples Health Corporation
David Martinez, RN