According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were 4% more suicide deaths in the United States in 2021 than there were in 2020.
According to the agency, there were 47,646 suicide deaths in 2021 compared to 45,979 in 2020. The two years prior saw a decrease in the suicide rate. Prior to that, the NCHS reported that the national suicide rate rose 35% between 1999 and 2018, reaching a peak of 48,344.
The research stated that suicide is a significant factor in premature death in the United States, particularly among those aged 10 to 34, for whom it is the second largest cause of death.
According to preliminary data, there were 38,025 male suicide deaths in 2021 compared to 9,621 female suicide deaths. Males between the ages of 15 and 24 experienced the largest percentage gain, increasing 8% between 2020 and 2021.
The explanation of the overall increase is unknown, however experts did point out that suicide rates declined in 2020, the year the COVID-19 pandemic seized the country, compared to the year before.
According to Doreen Marshall, PhD, a psychologist and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s vice president of mission engagement, “Suicides did not spike the way a lot of people assumed they would” during the pandemic. People may have been “trying to head off what we were terrified would happen,” she said, because they were attempting to prevent it.
Early on in the pandemic, “people were looking after each other,” according to Julie Cerel, PhD, director of the University of Kentucky’s Suicide Prevention and Exposure Lab, NBC News reported.
The study also revealed that suicides rose among girls in middle school, another vulnerable group. According to the research, there were 237 suicide fatalities among girls aged 10 to 14 in 2022, up 16% from the 204 suicide deaths in 2020.
Cerel stated, “We can’t draw any judgments just yet. But we also need to watch out for younger girls.
A hotline established by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline changed to three digits earlier this year, 988. According to CNN, the number of calls to the hotline climbed by 45% from the same period last year.
“The urge to act is a brief, powerful one. So, getting folks through those trying times is really the purpose, Marshall told CNN. People find it easier to recall the shorter number during an emergency.