BETHESDA, Md., April 22 (UPI) — The suicide rate in the United States continued its 30-year rise in 2014, growing in nearly every demographic group in the country, according to a new report.
The rate of people dying suicide each year has inched up by 24 percent since 1999 with increasing speed, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC researchers found suicide rates are up for men and women of all ages between 10 and 74, with the biggest increases for women among 10- to 14-year-olds and for men among 45- to 64-year-olds.
Suicide has been among the leading causes of death for adolescents and teenagers, and continues to increase, but rising rates of suicide among middle-aged adults is also cause for concern, researchers said.
Suicide rates have been increasing about 2 percent per year since 2006, a doubling of the annual rate of increase going back to 1999.
“The overall massiveness of the increase is to me the biggest shocker — the fact that it touched pretty much every group,” Katherine Hempstead, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times.
Overall, suicide has increased by 24 percent since 1999, from 10.5 per 100,000 people to 13.0 per 100,000. From 1999 to 2006, the average annual increase in suicides was 1 percent, but increased to 2 percent from 2006 to 2014.
Men are about three times more likely to die by suicide than women, however from 1999 to 2014, the rate of increase in suicides was far larger for women, increasing by 45 percent, compared to a 16 percent increase for men.
More than half of all male suicides in 2014, 55.4 percent, were related to firearms, a decrease from 61.7 percent in 1999. For women, the most used method of suicide in 2014 was poisoning — about 34.1 percent — a change from 1999, when 36.9 percent of women preferred firearms to the 36 percent who used poison.
Researchers suggest a range of reasons for the increase, including economic problems going back to the economic crash in 2008, especially for middle-aged white people where increases in the death rate, as well as suicide rate, have been seen recently.
For many, better mental health services could prevent suicides, especially with historical patterns of increased depression and suicide during times of national economic or other despair. Making these services more easily available could help.
“We have more and more effective treatments, but we have to figure out how to bake them into health care systems so they are used more automatically,” said Dr. Jane Pearson, chairwoman of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Suicide Research Consortium, told The New York Times. “We’ve got bits and pieces, but we haven’t really put them all together yet.”