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University of South Florida · College of Behavioral & Community Sciences · Mental Health Law & Policy


Key Personnel:
Marion A. Becker, Ph.D., R.N.
Lisa M. Brown, Ph.D.
Diane Haynes, M.A.
Stephen Roggenbaum, M.A

Suicide Risk in the Florida Medicaid Population

Publication Date: 6/1/2005

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Suicide is a major public health problem that is both tragic and potentially preventable. It is estimated that each year about 30,000 Americans die by suicide and 650,000 people receive emergency treatment after attempting suicide. While there is extensive research on the topic of suicide, there are still many unanswered questions. Recent research suggests that 20% - 25% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder, but we do not know how many of the 30,000 Americans who die by suicide each year receive care for a mental disorder. In addition, since no national studies have examined the specifi c risk factors for suicide among Medicaid recipients, we know little about the pattern and rate of suicide in the Medicaid population.

The purposes of this study were to:

  • Examine the demographic and diagnostic characteristics of Medicaid recipients who died by suicide;
  • Examine the type and intensity of Medicaid-funded services provided in the year prior to death to persons who died by suicide, as compared to Medicaid recipients who did not die by suicide, and
  • Compare the rate of suicide among Medicaid recipients on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with Medicaid recipients not receiving SSI.