Tuesday, June 12, 2018

CDC Investigates Rise in Suicides

The CDC's report on the rising number of suicides in the United States was released on June 8,  just days after Kate Spade committed suicide and the same day Anthony Bourdain took his own life. The government's in-depth analysis of suicide's potential causal factors sheds light on just how difficult it will be to stem the rising tide.

In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans killed themselves, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death. The annual number of suicides has grown by almost 30 percent since 1999, the CDC reports. The suicide rate has increased in every age group under age 75 and has grown in most states. Confronted with these facts, this timely CDC report examines 2015 data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, in which 27 states participated. Information from friends and family, reported to law enforcement at the time of death, are part of the database. The findings are not encouraging...
  • Among those who committed suicide in the 27 reporting states, the 54 percent majority did not have a known mental health condition. 
  • Among those without a mental health condition, only 22.4 percent had disclosed their intention to commit suicide. Even among those with a known mental health condition, only 23.5 percent had disclosed their intention to commit suicide. 
  • Only 28 percent of those who committed suicide had problematic substance abuse problems—a possible indicator of suicide risk.
  • Among suicide victims with known mental health problems, more than half were in treatment at the time of death.
What can be done to save lives? In an attempt to answer that question, the CDC examined the problems of suicide victims, with information provided by friends and family about troubles in the victim's life. The most commonly reported issues were intimate partner problems (27 percent), physical health problems (22 percent), school problems (20 percent), and job/financial problems (16 percent). These troubles are not unique to suicide victims, of course, which is why one of the CDC's recommendations is the suggestion that we teach better "coping and problem-solving skills to manage everyday stressors and prevent future relationship problems, especially early in life."

Most of the family and friends of suicide victims may never know why their loved one chose to take his or her own life. Only one-third of suicide victims leave a note, the CDC reports.

Source: CDC, Vital Signs: Trends in State Suicide Rates—United States, 1999–2016 and Circumstances Contributing to Suicide—27 States, 2015

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