Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Mental Health Center

Font Size

41 Suicide Attempts a Year in National Parks

CDC Report Shows 19% of Suicide Attempts in Parks Involve Falls From Cliffs or Bridges
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Dec. 2, 2010 -- A significant number of people try to kill themselves in America’s 84 national parks every year, and 68% succeed, sometimes by jumping off cliffs or bridges, a study shows.

In the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for Dec. 3, researchers say 286 suicide attempts occurred in 2003-2009, for an average of 41 per year. Of all attempts, 68% were successful.

Firearms were involved in 33% of the suicide attempts, followed by falls at 19% (many by jumping off cliffs or bridges), suffocations at 9%, poisoning at 7% (included drug overdoses), and cuts and piercings at 6%. Also, in 6% of suicide attempts, people used motor vehicles, which typically involved driving over a cliff. In contrast, nationally, less than 1% of suicide attempts annually are transportation related.

Blue Ridge Parkway and Grand Canyon

Six of 84 parks had 10 or more suicide events (suicide and attempted suicide), led by the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia and the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, both of which reported 21 events during the 2003-2009 period.

For males, the mostly commonly reported method of attempted and completed suicides was firearms (36%). Falls accounted for 19% and suffocations 16%, the study shows.

For females, top causes were firearms at 21%, falls at 19%, and poisonings at 16%.

The CDC says that between 2003 and 2009, the National Park Service averaged 28 suicides and 13 suicide attempts annually.

Among other key findings:

  • 83% of 194 suicides in the parks involved males.
  • Nationally in 2007, 79% of total suicides were by males.
  • The mean age of people who committed suicide or tried to in the parks was 43, ranging from 16 to 84.
  • The highest number of suicides occurred in June (22) followed by August (21) and January (21).
  • The highest number of attempted suicides occurred in July (17) followed by 11 in May.

Suicide Prevention

The CDC report says that each death due to suicide in a national park represents a preventable event in a public place. Suicides can lead to major cost burdens for the parks: One case cost $200,000 because it involved searching for a missing person.

Today on WebMD

Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
lunar eclipse
Signs of mania and depression.
man screaming
Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
woman looking into fridge
When food controls you.
Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
senior man eating a cake
woman reading medicine warnings
depressed young woman
man with arms on table
man cringing and covering ears

WebMD Special Sections