The number of suicides in the U.S. climbed to a record level in 2022, according to provisional data, as the rate continued to rise following a two-year reprieve.
Annual suicides rose 2.6% last year to 49,449, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Thursday. They increased for most demographic groups, but fell for young people and among American Indian or Alaska Native people.
The rate of suicides began rising in 2021 after two years of decline, continuing a trend that saw the rate increase more than a third from 1999 to 2018. Experts have cited the possibility that rising economic and social pressure began weighing more heavily on Americans around the beginning of 2021, as government and financial supports that were implemented during the pandemic were stripped away.
“Mental health has become the defining public health and societal challenge of our time,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a CDC statement. “Far too many people and their families are suffering and feeling alone.”
Suicides rose 8.1% among people 65 and older, and 6.6% for those ages 45 to 64. They fell 8.4%, however, for people 10 to 24 years old. While most racial and ethnic groups included in the data saw deaths rise, they fell 6.1% among American Indian or Alaska Native people.
The age-adjusted rate of suicides per 100,000 U.S. population was 14.4, CDC spokesperson Christy Hagen said in an email, up from 14.1 per 100,000 a year earlier.
Federal officials have taken a series of steps to address rising rates of anxiety, depression and other mental ailments. The Biden administration last month proposed new rules to improve insurance coverage for mental-health conditions.
Strategies to help prevent suicide include supporting people at risk, strengthening economic supports and improving access to suicide care, according to the CDC.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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