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July 18, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(3):226. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02540030048004

In recent years the problem of suicide has come to be looked on as a medical question, and this makes for real understanding of the situation as well as furnishing the best possible hope of its amelioration. It becomes important under these circumstances for the physician to know just what the situation with regard to suicide in this country is. In a recent article Mr. George Kennan1 has collected some valuable statistics that are probably the most authoritative figures on the subject at present obtainable and which, therefore, deserve consideration. Our annual suicide loss is enormous, for, according to Kennan, we are losing every year from this cause more than were killed on the Union side in the three great battles of Gettysburg, Spottsylvania and the Wilderness taken together.

The serious phase is that for twenty-five years the annual suicide rate has increased with large strides. In 1881 the