Introduction: From 1999 to 2020, the suicide rate in Virginia increased from 13.1 to 15.9 per 100,000 persons aged 10 years and older. Few studies have examined spatial patterns of suicide geographies smaller than the county level.

Methods: We analyzed data from suicide decedents aged ≥10 years from 2010 through 2015 in the Virginia Violent Death Reporting System. We identified spatial clusters of high suicide rates using spatially adaptive filtering with standardized mortality ratio (SMR) significantly higher than the state SMR (p < 0.001). We compared demographic characteristics, method of injury, and suicide circumstances of decedents within each cluster to decedents outside any cluster.

Results: We identified 13 high-risk suicide clusters (SMR between 1.7 and 2.0). Suicide decedents in the clusters were more likely to be older (40+ years), non-Hispanic white, widowed/divorced/separated, and less likely to have certain precipitating suicide circumstances than decedents outside the clusters. Suicide by firearm was more common in four clusters, and suicide by poisoning was more common in two clusters compared to the rest of the state.

Conclusions: There are important differences between geographic clusters of suicide in Virginia. These results suggest that place-specific risk factors for suicide may be relevant for targeted suicide prevention.

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