CDC Report Indicates Rising Rates of Suicide Throughout U.S.

This month’s Vital Signs report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that suicide rates have been increasing in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and is one of three leading causes that are on the rise. In 2016 alone, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 and older died by suicide. The national average rate of suicide increased 25.4 percent during the study period. In California, the rate increased 14.8 percent.

According to CDC researchers, more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Relationship problems or loss, substance misuse, physical health problems, and job, money, legal, or housing stress most commonly contributed to the risk of suicide. Firearms were the most common method of suicide used by those with and without a known diagnosed mental health condition.

The CDC strongly recommends a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention and a coordinated strategy to address the range of factors contributing to suicide. The CDC report suggests a number of interventions to address the increasing rates of suicide, including teaching coping and problem-solving skills early in life, working to ease housing and unemployment stress, and reducing access to lethal means that may be used in a suicide.

In 2017, the CDC issued a technical package of policies, programs, and practices to prevent suicide. This month’s Vital Signs report also details the warning signs of suicide and prevention resources available to individuals and entities. The most recent edition of Vital Signs is available here.