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An American took their own life every 10 minutes last year as suicide rates rose across the US, data reveals.

Statistics showed 47,644 Americans died by suicide in 2021, up four per cent from the previous 12 months and the second-highest tally over the last decade.

The figures follow a two-year decline in suicide rates.

The most likely group to take their own lives were men over 75 years old, while young men aged 18 to 24 saw the sharpest rise by eight per cent in a year.

Experts today described the uptick as ‘disappointing’, but nothing like the ‘major escalation’ predicted when the Covid pandemic hit. 

They blamed a combination of factors including worsening mental health, higher gun ownership rates and job losses due to Covid among other factors.

Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

The White House is currently beefing up mental health services for the country with $1 billion over five years to improve offerings in schools and for children struggling with psychological problems in the community.

The data is provisional, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it likely already included nearly all suicides from last year. 

This graph shows the total number of suicides by year (yellow line) in the United States, and when the Covid pandemic struck (red section). It reveals they ticked up again in the second year, which experts said could be down to the coming together in the pandemic ending
This graph shows the suicide rate per 100,000 people. It is a better comparison, because it accounts for differences in the US population by year. The analysis shows a four per cent uptick in suicides last year as well, however
The above graph shows the suicide rate per 100,000 people by age group for men and women over the year 2020 (green) and 2021 (blue). It reveals an uptick in rates among men aged from 15 to 24 years, while for females it remains level
There are no figures for suicides by state last year. But the above map shows the rates for 2020, revealing that Wyoming and Montana had the highest suicide rates

The data was published today in a report from the National Center for Health Statistics — which compiles health stats on all 50 states.

The analysis looked at death certificates submitted up to May this year.

The suicide rate was 14 per 100,000 people last year, up from 13.5 the previous year.

It was higher for every month except January, February and July.

Men were more likely to die by suicide than women in 2021, but the rates rose for both genders.

Dr Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, told the Washington Post: ‘A four per cent rise is certainly disappointing.

‘However, what had been predicted at the beginning of the pandemic was that there would be a major escalation.’

Experts said the rise was likely down to multiple reasons.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) was among those suggesting that it may be due to a rise in gun ownership, although this was not substantiated by surveys which suggest it remains at around 42 per cent.

Others pointed to rising mental health problems, losses of jobs and loved ones due to the pandemic and the influence of social media to explain the rise.

There were also suggestions that the ‘come together’ effect of the pandemic that was credited for the falling suicide rate may now ‘not persist’ leading to the uptick. 

A spokeswoman for the AFSP — the US’s leading charity on the issue — said today’s data ‘does not explain what contributed to the overall reported increases in suicide deaths’.

They added: ‘Suicide is complex, risk is dynamic and an individual’s personal risk factors combined with precipitants such as experiences with isolation, depression, anxiety, economic stress, suicidal ideation and access to lethal means may lead to periods of increased risk.’

Experts predicted at the start of the pandemic that it may lead to a surge in suicide rates after many were asked to remain home.

But instead initially the opposite happened with suicide rates dropping over the first year to their lowest level in four years.

It was suggested this may have been due to people spending more time with their families, and having more social support from others also staying at home.

The White House is aiming to expand mental health provisions, particularly for young people, unveiling another $1 billion in proposed funding for the next five years.

This will be used to expand mental health services in schools and for children while in the community. 

But many proposals are still making their way through Congress. 


source: DailyMail

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