A cluster of suicides in Evansville, Ind., has left families grieving and local officials searching for answers, reports USA Today. Suicides in Vanderburgh County, a southwestern Indiana county of 173,000, usually don’t exceed 30 a year. There have been 15 since Jan. 1 – nearly triple what Vanderburgh County had experienced at this point in 2006.
If the pace continues, Vanderburgh County’s annual suicide rate would be four times the state and national rates. At one point a few weeks ago, the local coroner said his office was responding to a suicide about every 95 hours. “These are not statistics that you’re proud of,” said Annie Groves, chief deputy coroner. No one has come up with a pattern that would link the suicides–no large-scale layoffs, no natural disaster. Suicide clusters are relatively rare, said a CDC epidemiologist.