Incredible. If current trends hold when the book is closed on 2012, there is a very strong chance that more New Yorkers will have died at their own hands rather than at the hands of another person! No wonder so many more suicides have made the news this year.
According to the NYPD, as of December 9th, 2012 there were 385 murders in New York City [PDF], a twenty percent drop from this time last year when there were 485 murders on the books. And if the numbers hold we could soon be approaching the murder rate from 1960, when 390 homicides were reported in the Big Apple. Meanwhile, according to the Department of Health and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner [PDF], approximately 475 New Yorkers kill themselves each year here (seven percent by subway). So if the number of suicides stays roughly the same (the Medical Examiner's office is currently unable to provide a concrete figure for 2012 so far) then there is a very strong possibility this year will be one for the books.
So now the question is: how we can reduce the suicide rate in New York City even more? We already have one of the lowest suicide rates in the nation (since 2000 our rate has been 6 per 100,000 people compared to the national average of 11 per—this year our murder rate is shaping up to be 4.75 per 100,000). And considering we budgeted $4.5 billion on our police force [PDF] and just $688 million on the DOH's Division of Mental Hygiene [PDF] maybe we should be putting a little bit more money from column A into column B?
Another way to help bring our suicide numbers down is to seek help. If you or someone you love wants help or information on depression or a drinking or substance abuse problem, there are many options available, starting first and foremost with your doctor. Beyond that, the city runs a free, 24-hour confidential help line for city residents at 1-800-LIFE-NET.