Suicide Rates Continue to Rise Among Americans

Suicide rates did drop among the very young by 8.4 percent, and by 6.1 percent among American Indian/Alaska Native people

By Physician’s Briefing Staff HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The mental health crisis hitting Americans shows no sign of abating, with provisional numbers for 2022 showing suicides rose by another 2.6 percent last year.

That follows an overall 5 percent increase in suicides in 2021, noted officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which on Thursday released the early data for 2022. Overall, 49,449 Americans lost their lives to suicide last year, up from 48,183 deaths in 2021, the agency reported.

“Today’s report underscores the depths of the devastating mental health crisis in America,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., said in a CDC news release. “Mental health has become the defining public health and societal challenge of our time. Far too many people and their families are suffering and feeling alone.”

The ongoing rise in mental health issues spurred the launch a year ago of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which is available 24/7 to anyone who feels they are in crisis.

According to the latest CDC data, there was one glimmer of hope in the new statistics: an 8.4 percent drop in 2022 for suicides among the very young (ages 10 to 24 years) and a 6.1 percent drop among one group hit particularly hard by mental health issues and suicide, American Indian/Alaska Native people. Still, most demographics saw a rise in suicide rates.

“The troubling increase in suicides requires immediate action across our society to address the staggering loss of life from tragedies that are preventable,” CDC Chief Medical Officer Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H., said in the news release. “Everyone can play a role in efforts to save lives and reverse the rise in suicide deaths.”

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