Who leaves suicide notes? A six-year population-based study

Julie Cerel, Melinda Moore, Margaret M. Brown, Judy Van De Venne, Sabrina L. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Popular culture insists on the significance of suicide notes, but research has yielded conflicting results about who leaves notes. Utilizing 6 years of suicides from a comprehensive statewide data surveillance system, differences were examined between cases with suicide notes and those without in terms of demographics, circumstances of the suicide, and precipitating circumstances. Of the 2,936 suicides, 18.25% included a note. Demographics and circumstances did not differ for cases with a note compared to cases with no note. Results have implications for working with people bereaved by suicide in helping understand that the notes are uncommon and not systematic. However, it is also possible that for some individuals, the content of a note is meaningful and can help or hinder their course of bereavement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-334
Number of pages9
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 The American Association of Suicidology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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