Experts believe the nation’s suicide rate will continue to climb.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that the suicide rate in the United States was highest in 2022. It is heartbreaking to realize many people feel suicide is the only option they have. They feel helpless and alone, even when they are surrounded by loved ones. Mental health concerns, relationship issues, the economy, and more can all be contributing factors.
In 2022, over 49,000 U.S. persons took their lives. Statistically, this was 3% higher than in 2021, and marked the highest number recorded for any given year. With so many people facing mental health crisis situations, getting to the core of the problem before it escalates could be a turning point to drop these numbers.
Experts can’t pinpoint the exact reasons why the numbers are going up, but they feel it is cause for alarm. Two of the main factors experts are calling attention to are increased mental health concerns, especially depression, and a shortage in mental healthcare workers. While there may seem to be plenty of resources out there, including online, it can be a long waiting period to get an appointment.
In other scenarios, a person may not reach out because they are afraid to tell others about how they’re feeling, or their insurance plans don’t cover these services. It is upsetting to discover the number of people that don’t get mental health services because they can’t afford them.
The largest increase in suicide for 2022 is in the age group between 45 to 64. This has some experts believing financial and relationship issues could be serious underlying factors.
Suicide by gun took the highest number of lives, and some experts argue gun sales are part of the problem. This includes a report in June 2023 from the John Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. In many states, it isn’t difficult to buy a gun for personal use. It is also easy to buy them on the black market if someone has a desire to do so.
The suicide numbers for 2022 can’t be ignored, and it means more must be done for prevention and awareness. Providing individuals with a proper diagnosis and ample resources, and ensuring they know there are alternatives to suicide can make a positive impact.
One of the resources everyone should become familiar with is the 988 National Crisis Line. This was implemented in 2022. Anyone can call this at any time for mental health care. This was launched last year, but getting the message out there so people know about it continues to be a focal point.
Loved ones are always left with many questions after a suicide. They often feel guilty that they missed the warning signs. Getting involved when something feels ‘off,’ and asking loved ones tough questions, is important. It isn’t a conversation anyone wants to have, but it could be lifesaving. Everyone needs to know they have a solid support system in place.
The CDC is also promoting an anti-suicide campaign raising awareness around available crisis prevention options. They want people to know they shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask for help. Part of this campaign is aimed at youth and will be shared with schools. Due to the rising number of adults committing suicide, it makes sense to extend these efforts outside of schools and into communities as well.