U.S. suicide rate witnesses a startling rise in the last 1.5 decades

According to recent government report the nation is not getting anywhere near addressing the suicide problem.

Rising suicide rates in the last 1.5 decades bear eloquent testimony to the fact that disorders related to mental health are indeed a public health concern.

Between 1999 and 2014, deaths due to suicide in the U.S. have risen by 24%, says an analysis of Americans aged above five years, by researchers at the US CDC. Though the researchers could not pin down any particular cause for this self-harm, the study results constitute a wake-up call of significant magnitude.

Kristin Holland, a behavioural scientist at the CDC’s Violence Prevention Surveillance, stated that suicide is not merely a mental health concern but more a public health concern, and it can be prevented. He added that several programs have had a salutary effect in preventing suicide, and the CDC is continuing to examine innovative strategies to prevent suicides. Suicide rates have risen for all ethnic and racial demographic groups with only a few exceptions which go to show that issues related to mental health and the stigma impact everyone.

While white women and men have significantly contributed to the rise, Alaskan Native, and American Indians have topped the list in terms of percentage in suicide rate. This is further corroborated by statistics available with CDC.

In terms of age, the biggest uptick was noticed in men between 45 and 64 and in percentage terms that represent an increase of 43% in the last 15 years.  The study also pointed out that the number of suicides by women aged 10 to 14 pegged lower in relative terms. However, in percentage terms, this age group showed the highest increase at a startling 200% between 1999 and 2014 compared to earlier time frames.

Even with all these variations in percentages between groups, suicides continued to be dominant among white male in the US with 83% of 33,113 white men committing suicide in 2014 alone. However, when the numbers were further broken down by race, it revealed that Alaskan Native and Indian American population contributed the largest increase in percentage terms. Between 1999 and 2014 suicide by women belonging to these two groups increased by 89% while it was 83% for men during the same period.

While the absolute numbers may appear to be small, the suicide rate among white children in the age group of 10 to 14 years has shown an alarming rise and has more than tripled among white girls while it was about 57% among white boys.