Polk County Health Department


Content updated 8/1/17

Suicide is when someone harms oneself with the intent of ending their life and dies as a result. A suicide attempt refers to someone who takes harmful actions with the intent of killing oneself, but does not die. Individuals who attempt suicide can suffer serious physical and mental injuries.

Depression and other mental illness are factors that may lead to suicide attempts. Other risk factors are alcohol or drug abuse, family history of suicide, physical illness or feelings of loneliness. Suicide does not only affect the individual, but also their friends and family who are left with feelings of shock, anger, guilt and depression.

Between 2010 – 2015, a total of 355 suicides were reported in Polk County. From this total, 138 or 39% of deaths were caused by firearm discharge. In 2015, the rate of suicides was estimated at 15.7 per 100,000.

By Age Group

Among age groups, individuals aged 35 –65 represented 197 deaths or 55% of all deaths by intentional self-harm during 2010 – 2015 (n=355) followed by the age group 15 – 34 years with 29% of the total. 

Contact Us

Phone: (515)-286-3798
Fax: (515)-286-2033
Toll free: 866-209-1300

Address: 1907, Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314