Number of suicides in the US in 2022 reaches record level: CDC

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(NEW YORK) — The number of suicides in the United States has hit a record high, new provisional federal data shows.

In 2022, an estimated 49,449 people died by suicide, which is 3% higher than the 48,183 people who died in 2021, according to a report published early Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The suicide rate increased by 1% in 2022 to 14.3 deaths per 100,000 from 14.1 per 100,000 in 2021, marking this as the highest rate seen since 1941, according to the report.

The authors said when the final data for 2022 is collected, they expect the number of suicides to likely be higher as additional death certificates with pending causes of death are ruled as deaths by suicide.

“Reporting of suicides in particular can be delayed due to investigations regarding the cause and circumstances surrounding the death,” the authors wrote.

For the report, the NCHS looked at 2022 death records received and processed as of Aug. 6, 2023, and compared it with 2021 final data.

When broken down by sex, the suicide rate for males was 1% higher in 2022 than 2021 at 23.1 per 100,000 compared with 22.8 and 4% higher for females at 5.9 per 100,000 compared with 5.7.

Among males, suicide rates declined for those ages 34 and younger and increased for those 35 and older. The report found that for females, rates fell for those ages 24 and younger and rose for those 25 and older.

Although the percentage increase was greater for females, the provisional number of suicides for males in 2022 was 39,255, nearly four times that of females at 10,194.

By age, rates for those under age 34 fell between 2021 and 2022 and increased for those aged 35 and older. The report found that the rate was highest for those aged 75 and older and lowest for those aged 10 to 14.

There were also disparities when it came to race/ethnicity. American Indians/Alaska Natives had the highest rate at 26.7 deaths per 100,000. However, the rate was 5% lower in 2022 compared with 2021 and was the only group to experience a decline in rates, although this decrease was not deemed statistically significant, according to the report.

All other race/ethnic groups experienced a 1% to 3% increase in suicide rates, but according to the report, none of these changes were deemed statistically significant either.

Suicides have been steadily increasing during the 21st century, leading to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issuing a call to action in 2021 on a national strategy for suicide prevention as well as a youth mental health advisory.

Last year, the federal government launched the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for people to call or text if they or someone they know is experiencing a crisis.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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