Suicides in Mohave County and Arizona are down in 2020, according to Supervisor Buster Johnson.
County supervisors earlier this year asked the Mohave County Department of Public Health to report back on deaths related to suicide this year compared to last year.
The Department said suicides in Arizona are down by 9 percent, while Mohave County’s rate is about 15 percent lower than last year.
Researchers have said they’re worried that the coronavirus pandemic could result in a spike of mental health problems and substance abuse disorders.
The medical journal JAMA reported in October that a mental health wave could add additional challenges for the country, including increased deaths from suicide and overdoses.
Johnson said he wasn’t surprised to see the lower numbers for Arizona and Mohave County.
“Those saying we have had excess suicide deaths due to the pandemic has been over blown by many who are sensationalizing the impacts had on covid-19 restrictions,” he said in a news release.
Mohave County Health Director, Denise Burley, collected data from death certificates, compiled by the Arizona Department of Health Services, for her report. According to Johnson, suicide death counts were compiled using underlying cause of death and descriptive cause of death.
The data for the state as a whole showed that for the time period of January to September there were 103 more suicides last year than compared to the same time period this year.
In Arizona, there were 1,159 documented suicides in 2019, compared to 1,056 so far this year, Johnson said.
In Mohave County, suicide deaths for 2020 are showing a comparable trend.
So far the county has documented 12 fewer suicides this year than compared to the same time frame last year.
In 2019, Mohave County saw 70 suicides by mid-October compared to 58 so far this year.
Burley said in her report to the board that if suicide deaths in November and December increase significantly over last year, this pattern could change.
Burley said she will compile new figures in February and report back to the board on if suicide deaths over the holidays had any major changes to the final year’s total.