(410 ILCS 53/5)
The General Assembly makes the following findings:
(1) The Surgeon General of the United States has
described suicide prevention as a serious public health priority and has called upon each state to develop a statewide comprehensive suicide prevention strategy using a public health approach. Suicide now ranks 10th among causes of death, nationally.
(2) In 1998, 1,064 Illinoisans lost their lives to
suicide, an average of 3 Illinois residents per day. It is estimated that there are between 21,000 and 35,000 suicide attempts in Illinois every year. Three and one-half percent of all suicides in the nation take place in Illinois.
(3) Among older adults, suicide rates are increasing,
making suicide the leading fatal injury among the elderly population in Illinois. As the proportion of Illinois' population age 75 and older increases, the number of suicides among persons in this age group will also increase, unless an effective suicide prevention strategy is implemented.
(4) Adolescents are far more likely to attempt
suicide than other age groups in Illinois. The data indicates that there are 100 attempts for every adolescent suicide completed. In 1998, 156 Illinois youths died by suicide, between the ages of 15 through 24. Using this estimate, there were likely more than 15,500 suicide attempts made by Illinois adolescents or approximately 50% of all estimated suicide attempts that occurred in Illinois were made by adolescents.
(5) Homicide and suicide rank as the second and third
leading causes of death in Illinois for youth, respectively. Both are preventable. While the death rates for unintentional injuries decreased by more than 35% between 1979 and 1996, the death rates for homicide and suicide increased for youth. Evidence is growing in terms of the links between suicide and other forms of violence. This provides compelling reasons for broadening the State's scope in identifying risk factors for self-harmful behavior. The number of estimated youth suicide attempts and the growing concerns of youth violence can best be addressed through the implementation of successful gatekeeper-training programs to identify and refer youth at risk for self-harmful behavior.
(6) The American Association of Suicidology
conservatively estimates that the lives of at least 6 persons related to or connected to individuals who attempt or complete suicide are impacted. Using these estimates, in 1998, more than 6,000 Illinoisans struggled to cope with the impact of suicide.
(7) Decreases in alcohol and other drug abuse, as
well as decreases in access to lethal means, significantly reduce the number of suicides.
(8) Suicide attempts are expected to be higher than
reported because attempts not requiring medical attention are not required to be reported. The underreporting of suicide completion is also likely because suicide classification involves conclusions regarding the intent of the deceased. The stigma associated with suicide is also likely to contribute to underreporting. Without interagency collaboration and support for proven, community-based, culturally-competent suicide prevention and intervention programs, suicides are likely to rise.
(9) Emerging data on rates of suicide based on
gender, ethnicity, age, and geographic areas demand a new strategy that responds to the needs of a diverse population.
(10) According to Children's Safety Network Economics
Insurance, the cost of youth suicide acts by persons in Illinois who are under 21 years of age totals $539,000,000, including medical costs, future earnings lost, and a measure of quality of life.
(11) Suicide is the second leading cause of death in
Illinois for persons between the ages of 15 and 24.
(12) In 1998, there were 1,116 homicides in Illinois,
which outnumbered suicides by only 52. Yet, so far, only homicide has received funding, programs, and media attention.
(13) According to the 1999 national report on
statistics for suicide of the American Association of Suicidology, categories of unintentional injury, motor vehicle deaths, and all other deaths include many reported and unsubstantiated suicides that are not identified correctly because of poor investigatory techniques, unsophisticated inquest jurors, and stigmas that cause families to cover up evidence.
(14) Programs for HIV infectious diseases are very
well funded even though, in Illinois, HIV deaths number 30% less than suicide deaths.
(Source: P.A. 93-907, eff. 8-11-04.)