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Number of US suicides rose 4% in 2021, CDC report finds

(ATLANTA) — The number of suicides increased in the United States in 2021 after two consecutive years of declines, new federal data finds.

In 2021, there were 47,646 suicides, according to provisional data featured in the report, published Friday morning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

This means there were about 14 suicides per 100,000 people.

The figure is a 4% rise from the 45,979 suicides that were recorded in 2020 and the rate of 13.5 per 100,000.

It comes after a 3.2% drop in suicides from 2018 to 2019 and a 1.7% drop from 2019 to 2020, the report found.

“Suicide is a major contributor to premature death in the United States,” the authors wrote. “In the United States, suicide increased 35% from 1999 to 2018 before declining by 5% through 2020.”

For the report, researchers looked at death certificate data from the NCHS as of May 15, 2022, looking at provisional data for 2021 and comparing it with final data for 2020 and earlier.

According to the report, the number of suicides per month in 2021 was only lower in January, February and July compared to 2020. For the other nine months, the number of suicides was higher.

The largest difference in monthly suicides occurred in October with an estimated 4,211 in 2021, which is an 11% increase from the 3,781 recorded in October 2020.

When looking at suicides broken down by sex, the number recorded for males in 2021 was 38,025, which is 4% higher than the 36,551 recorded in 2020.

Additionally, the rate of male suicides rose by 3% from 22.0 per 100,000 in 2020 to 22.7 per 100,000 in 2021, the report found.

Although female suicides increased by 2% from 9,428 in 2020 to 9,621 in 2021, researchers found that the rate increase from 5.5 per 100,000 in 2020 to 5.6 per 100,000 was not “statistically significant.

The report also found there were increases in suicide rates in nearly every age group.

Young adults saw the largest increase with 15-to-24-year-olds going from 14.2 suicides per 100,000 in 2020 to 15.3 per 100,000 in 2021.

Americans aged 35 to 44 had the second largest increase of 17.4 per 100,00 in 2020 to 18.2 per 100,000 in 2021.

The report did not go into explanations of why suicides increased, but studies have suggested the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in mental health challenges, particularly among children and teens, that may have led to a spike in suicides.

Researchers are also studying if there is a link between people with long COVID and higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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