January 25, 2007
The state medical examiner's office released the state edition of the National Violent Death Reporting System, which found that white people were more prone to suicide and that black people were more at risk for homicide.
Of the 1,303 violent deaths in Virginia in 2004, 63 percent were suicides while only about 29 percent were homicides. Just under two percent of the deaths stemmed from unintentional gunshot injuries.
The report said that among those that committed suicide, 38 percent had been diagnosed with depression and 37 percent of them were undergoing mental health treatment when they died.
Black males comprised about 10 percent of Virginia's population in 2004, but accounted for more than 51 percent of all homicide victims.
The Virginia Department of Health hopes the information will help combat suicides. The department will focus especially on the rural areas of Southside, the upper Shenandoah Valley and the Northern Neck, which have suicide rates that exceed the state average of about 11 per 100,000 people.