The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that suicide rates have increased significantly all across the nation.
Amidst reports of two more high-profile suicides — fashion icon Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain — the CDC has released some dismaying numbers regarding the country’s overall mental health. The report says that “suicide rates increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016,” with an increase of more than 30 percent in half of the states.
But increasingly, it appears suicide is not just a problem for those known to suffer from mental health issues. In fact, 54 percent of this rising tide of people had no known mental health condition at all. “Suicide is rarely caused by any single factor,” and “in fact, many people who die by suicide are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death.” For those “healthy” individuals, firearms are the preferred method, whereas those with known mental health issues tend to poison themselves.
The report cites “relationships, substance use, physical health, and job, money, legal, or housing stress” as major contributors. Relationship issues were responsible for 42 percent of known causes. Substance abuse, acute crises, and health problems were distant runners-up. The organization advises that “making sure government, public health, healthcare, employers, education, the media and community organizations are working together is important for preventing suicide.”
The report also lists numerous ways in which everyone can participate in mitigating this tragic trend: The Federal government has the ability to research and identify those populations at greatest risk, while local government can expand its treatment and support. Employers can actively work to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health support by taking the initiative with employee treatment. Finally, the CDC describes ways in which everyone can help. Listen, support, and direct to existing resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
If you are thinking about taking your own life, there is always hope, and there are resources available to help you. And if you know someone who may be in danger, reach out.