U.S. suicide rates up, especially among women, but down for black males

Source: CNN

By Carina Storrs, Special to CNN

(CNN)The number of suicides in the United States has been on the rise since 1999 in everyone between the ages of 10 and 74, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics looked at data on cause of death for Americans 10 and older from 1999 to 2014. They also included information on age and race from death certificates.
In 2014, 13 people out of every 100,000 took their own lives, compared with 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999. The suicide rate increased every year from 1999 to 2014 among both women and men and in every age group except those 75 and older.
“The increase is broad-based,” said Sally C. Curtin, a statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the new report, which was released Thursday.
Such an increase in suicides could also make prevention efforts more difficult. “If it were just one particular group, you could say ‘that is where we need to focus,’ ” Curtin said.
The report is the first since 1999 to look at suicide rates among all age groups, she said.
The number of suicides increased among all racial groups except for black males, who saw an 8% decline in suicide rate from 10.5 to 9.7 per 100,000 between 1999 and 2014, respectively. The largest increases were among American Indians and Alaska Natives; in this group, the suicide rate climbed by 89% among women and 38% among men. Suicide rates among white women and white men increased by 60% and 28%, respectively.
Although it is difficult to know why suicide rates increased so much among American Indians and Alaska Natives, “they are typically in a lower socioeconomic status than some of the other ethnic and racial groups, and may have greater access to lethal means and be at higher risk of substance use and alcohol use,” said Kristin Holland, a behavioral scientist in the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention who was not involved in the current research.
The suicide rate in 2014 marks a return to 1996, when the rate was also 13 per 100,000. Although the rate fell between 1996 and 1999, it has been steadily increasing since. The pace of increase has also picked up; whereas the suicide rate climbed by about 1% each year between 1999 and 2006, it increased by 2% each year between 2006 and 2014.
“We are absolutely very concerned that … suicide is still on the rise,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a nonprofit organization that funds suicide research.
“Our nation has not made the level of investment on a federal level that can have the positive effect on suicide that has happened for the other leading causes of death,” such as heart disease and cancer, said Moutier, who was not involved in the current report. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

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