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Are suicide rates climbing? Men 4x more likely than women?

Suicides now claim the lives of almost 50,000 Americans each year. This compares to about 9,000 homicides and 40 school shooting deaths.


BTW, Drug deaths run almost 95,000 per year, of which almost 83% derive from Opioids.


Suicide Rates Rose in 2021 After Two Years in Decline

Men drove up U.S. average, while women reported more suicidal thoughts


A help-line operator in Tempe, Ariz., speaking to local callers.

PHOTO: ASH PONDERS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

By Julie Wernau, WSJ

April 13, 2023 12:01 am ET


Suicide rates in the U.S. rose in 2021 after two years in decline, federal data showed, driven by more deaths among men in nearly every age group.


Suicides rates increased 4% in 2021 from a year earlier to 14.1 deaths per 100,000 people, the National Center for Health Statistics said Thursday, the largest one-year increase in data collected from 2001 to 2021. For men, the rate was 22.8 deaths per 100,000, roughly four times that for women.


Suicide rates have long been an indicator of a dearth of intervention and treatment for mental health in the U.S., said Amanda Fialk, partner and chief clinical officer at The Dorm, a treatment program for young people struggling with mental illness or substance use.


“People are in pain and their symptoms are getting worse and worse,” she said.


Men die by suicide more often than women, though women report thoughts of suicide more often and make more nonfatal suicide attempts than men. More men died by suicide in 2021 than in any year since record-keeping began in the early 20th century, the data showed. About half of all suicides involve a gun, according to an analysis of federal data from Kaiser Family Foundation.


Suicide rates were highest for indigenous people, with 42.6 deaths per 100,000 men in 2021 compared with 28 per 100,000 for the white men, the second-highest rate. Indigenous people are also two to three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white people and experienced the biggest drop in life expectancy in 2021, driven by Covid-19 and addiction-related illness.


While the highest suicide rates are for older people, separate federal data showed that emergency-department visits for people with suicidal ideation were highest for adolescents, with girls ages 14 to 18 the most likely to arrive at an emergency room with suicidal thoughts.


“There’s an incredible amount of stress for adolescent girls,” said Mitch Prinstein, chief science officer for the American Psychological Association.


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline switched last summer to a three-digit number, 988, for people to call for help with suicidal thoughts or mental-health crises. Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit that administers the crisis line, said the number has received more calls, texts and chats and improved answer rates since it went live. From July to December 2022, Vibrant said 988 received more than 2.1 million calls, texts and chats, about 892,000 more than the same period the year before the transition.


Write to Julie Wernau at julie.wernau@wsj.com

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