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CDC Reports That 45,000 People Committed Suicide in the US in 2016, Up 30% Since 1999

Sobering statistics.
cdc suicide statistics

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Suicide rates are on the rise. It’s been a tragic summer for high profile suicides, with Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade recently taking their own lives. As suicide rates continue to grow, it’s becoming painfully clear that America is in the midst of a mental health crisis.

From 1999 to 2015, overall suicide rates in America have risen 30%. According to a report by the CDC, nearly 45,000 American died by suicide in 2016. That is one death every 12 minutes. Given the high profile surrounding Spade and Bourdain, more people are asking if certain middle-aged groups are at risk for suicide. The data shows they are.

“Middle-aged adults had the largest number of suicides and a particularly high increase in suicide rates. These findings are disturbing,” CDC principal deputy director Dr. Anne Schuchat told NBC News.

However, middle-aged individuals are not the only demographic group at an increased risk for suicide. In fact, dramatic increases in risk ratings have been demonstrated in all individuals under the age of 75.

“From 1999 to 2015, suicide rates increased among both sexes, all racial/ethnic groups, and all urbanization levels,” the CDC wrote in their report.

Disturbingly, the rates of suicide increase have dramatically increased in women and teenagers. Between 2000-2015, the rates in suicide among women have increased 50%. Although the overall number of suicides in men outnumber those in women, the rates of increase for women have rapidly increased since 2007.

Mental health diagnosis might also not be the sole determining factor for the increase in suicide risks. While mental health certainly is a determining factor in suicidal ideation, the CDC found that not every suicide is directly related to a mental health diagnosis. “I have been learning as a nation we have seen increases and decreases over time in suicide. Increases mostly seem to correlate with economic downturns,” said Schuchat.

“A key thing that we focused on was looking at individuals who committed suicide, comparing those with mental health diagnoses with those who didn’t,” Schuchat told NBC News.“More than half of all the individuals who committed suicide had no mental health diagnoses.”

Part of the problem might be that many Americans lack accessible and affordable mental healthcare. Sometimes, it can take days or even weeks to secure a mental health evaluation or appointment. In those situations, it is difficult to get properly diagnosed.  Often, the broken system becomes a major deterrent to those individuals who are actively suffering. Also, treatment doesn’t always work immediately.

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    Chris Heide is the recipient of the Kaplan Award for Narrative Journalism and is the co-Founder and ... keep reading