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Suicide statistics show a growing public health problem

It’s hard to understand why suicide prevention efforts are so important without understanding the impact suicide has in the U.S.

In 2019, CDC statistics show there were more than 47,500 suicide deaths. That’s one death about every 11 minutes.

Although not complete, early numbers from 2020 show a slight decrease in suicide rates - down 4.6%. But in their reporting, the CDC was not celebrating, instead suggesting that the decrease might be offset by the negative impact of COVID-19 on mental health.

“The pandemic has increased many risk factors for suicide, such as social isolation and barriers to physical and mental healthcare,” the agency says on its website.

The numbers increase dramatically when data collectors include not just those who die from suicide but those who seriously consider it and those who attempt it. In 2019, for example, 12 million U.S. adults considered suicide, according to CDC data, while 3.5

million actually planned a suicide attempt, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.

And these numbers are growing. Overall, suicide rates have been trending up with a 33% increase, according to the CDC, between 1999 and 2019.

Why do we need to know these numbers? Because suicide is a public health problem negatively impacting millions of lives and it doesn’t need to be this way.

Suicide prevention strategies exist from policy changes, economic strategies, and expanded mental health treatments.

Some of the best strategies involve reducing social isolation and fostering connections between people. In other words, change can happen and it can happen in your neighborhood.

Find out more here.

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