National Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, 2019. 800,000 individuals die worldwide due to suicide every year, and suicide costs Americans an estimated $50.8 billion in lifetime medical and work-loss cuts annually. The total economic burden from suicide and self-inflicted injuries was estimated to be over $70 billion annually. (Fact Sheet)
Research!America explored the issue of suicide prevention in its January 2019 national public opinion survey. A strong majority (68%) agreed that it was “very important” or “somewhat important” for the U.S. to invest public dollars in the prevention of suicide. This is consistent with our survey data from 2015, although it is down from 2006, when 86% said it was very or somewhat important to invest in suicide prevention.
In 2015, 24% of the public said that they or someone they knew, such as a family member or close personal friend, suffered from mental illness. And the number of people who said that mental health was the single most important health issue facing the nation has been rising; from 2% in 2012 to 7% in 2015 and 8% in 2018.
Since Research!America was founded 30 years ago, a key strategy in advocating for medical and health research has been public opinion. As President Abraham Lincoln said, “…public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” In this blog post series, we’ll highlight the findings of our 2019 national public opinion survey on medical, health, and scientific research, and explore the trends in the data where we can.