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Home Health Suicides hit record high last year when nearly 50,000 Americans took their own lives

Suicides hit record high last year when nearly 50,000 Americans took their own lives

by nytime
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More Americans took their own lives in the last year than ever before, according to national data.

Figures published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 49,500 adults in the US committed suicide in 2022, driven by access to guns and increased rates of depression.

The data suggests that suicides are now more common in the US than at any time since World War II. 

It’s a rise from 48,200 in 2021, which adds up to one death every 11 minutes. 

Suicide is now the eleventh-leading cause of death in the US, compared to 2020 when it was the twelfth-leading cause. It’s also the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10 through 34. 

Figures published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) revealed that 49,500 adults in the US committed suicide in 2022, driven by access to guns and increased rates of depression

Figures published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) revealed that 49,500 adults in the US committed suicide in 2022, driven by access to guns and increased rates of depression

Suicides in adults ages 25 to 44 grew about percent. The new data indicates that suicide became the second leading cause of death in that age group in 2022, up from number four n 2021

Suicides in adults ages 25 to 44 grew about percent. The new data indicates that suicide became the second leading cause of death in that age group in 2022, up from number four n 2021

The US has long been under fire for its growing number of gun deaths, which experts believe could contribute to the amount of suicides. 

A 2022 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in 2020, the US had a record number of 45,222 firearm deaths, and gun-related suicides rose by one percent. 

Additionally, data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) Global Burden of Disease Report found that the US had nearly four times the gun-related suicides in 2019 of the second-highest country, India.

Jill Harkavy-Friedman, senior vice president of research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said: ‘I don’t know if you can talk about suicide without talking about firearms.’

The suicide rate fell slightly in 2019 and dropped again in 2020, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Some experts tied that to a phenomenon seen in the early stages of wars and natural disasters, when people pull together and support each other.

But in 2021, suicides rose four percent. Last year, according to the new data, the number jumped by more than 1,000, to 49,449 — about a three percent increase over the year before. 

The provisional data comes from US death certificates and is considered almost complete, but it may change slightly as death information is reviewed in the months ahead.

The largest increases were seen in older adults. Deaths rose nearly seven percent in people ages 45 to 64, and more than eight percent in people 65 and older. 

White men, in particular, have very high rates, the CDC said.

Many middle-aged and elderly people experience problems like losing a job or losing a spouse, and it’s important to reduce stigma and other obstacles to them getting assistance, said Dr. Debra Houry, the CDC’s chief medical officer.

Suicides in adults ages 25 to 44 grew about percent. The new data indicates that suicide became the second leading cause of death in that age group in 2022, up from number four n 2021.

Despite the grim statistics, some say there is reason for optimism. A national crisis line launched a year ago, meaning anyone in the U.S. can dial 988 to reach mental health specialists.

The CDC is expanding a suicide program to fund more prevention work in different communities. And there’s growing awareness of the issue and that it’s OK to ask for help, health officials say.

There was a more than eight percent drop in suicides in people ages 10 to 24 in 2022. 

That may be due to increased attention to youth mental health issues and a push for schools and others to focus on the problem, CDC officials said.

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