Sep 30, 2022 - Health

Suicides increased 4% in 2021 after two consecutive years of decline

Photo of the CDC sign

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Suicide rates in the U.S. increased 4% in 2021 after declining for two years, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Driving the news: Suicide remains a "major contributor to premature death in the United States, especially among people aged 10–34, for whom it is the second leading cause of death," the CDC found.

  • The number of suicides totaled 47,646 in 2021. Men ages 15-24 saw the largest increase, at 8%, while the rate for women was 2% higher than in 2020.
  • August had the highest number of suicides in 2021.

Worth noting: The data presented in the report is preliminary and subject to change — suicide reporting often sees delays due to investigations around the cause and circumstances surrounding the death, the researchers note.

  • The analysis is based on over 99% of expected death records, and the findings are expected to be consistent with final 2021 data.

The big picture: The report breaks down the data only by age and gender, but previous CDC data has shown that some groups are more vulnerable than others, including Native Americans, LGBTQ people, veterans and those living in rural areas.

  • Though the overall suicide rate declined in 2020, there were still increases in suicide among young adults over 35; American Indians and Alaska Natives; Black Americans; and Hispanic Americans.
  • Mental health has also deteriorated significantly among youth during the pandemic, with more than 40% of teens saying they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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