Suicide Rate is Up 1.2 Percent According to Most Recent CDC Data (Year 2016)

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Demographics Remain Relatively Unchanged – Middle Aged White Men at Greatest Risk

NEW YORK (JANUARY 2, 2018) – On December 21, 2017, the CDC released the most recent data related to suicide for the year 2016. According to these data, suicide is still the tenth leading cause of death and the rate of suicide in 2016 increased by 1.2 percent. In 2015, the last year the CDC released mortality data, there were 44,193 suicide deaths; in 2016 there were 44,965, an increase of 772 additional deaths. Dr. Christine Moutier, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization released this statement about the new data:

“We are disheartened because every suicide is a tragedy, and the suicide rate in the US has been steadily increasing for years. The more the public understands about suicide prevention, the more likely we’ll see the rate of suicide begin to decrease. Creating a culture open to talking about mental health and suicide prevention is critical. Making treatment truly accessible for all people is paramount.

As the nation’s largest private funder of suicide research, we know concentrated and strategic suicide prevention efforts can be successful. We have invested in Project 2025, a high-impact, collaborative initiative developed by AFSP, aimed at the organization’s bold goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. Based on the evidence, AFSP has determined a series of actions across four critical areas to help reach this unprecedented goal including: (1) firearms and suicide prevention, (2) large healthcare systems, (3) emergency departments, and (4) corrections system.

Through Project 2025, we will reach across all demographic and sociological groups to have the greatest impact for suicide prevention, and the potential to save thousands of lives within the next decade. As a nation, we need to invest our time and resources in effective prevention efforts. The lives of millions of Americans depend on it.”

Suicide – The New Numbers

  • Men die by suicide 3.57 more times than women
  • White males account for seven out of ten suicides
  • Among people in middle age (45-54) the rate of suicide slightly decreased
  • In the second highest risk age category of those 85 years old and older, there was a small decrease in the suicide rate
  • All other age groups increased slightly (except 45-54 and 85 and older)
  • Related to race, Caucasian people have the highest rate of suicide
  • The suicide rate among Caucasian people decreased slightly
  • There was an increase in the suicide rate among Alaska Native and American Indian people
  • More than half of suicide deaths were by firearms, 51 percent (from just under 50 percent last year)
  • For young people between the ages of 15-24, the suicide rate is 13.2 deaths per 100,000 (corrected from original press release) 

To view these most recent CDC data on suicide: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/.  For safe reporting: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/for-journalists/.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Contact: Alexis O’Brien, 347-826-3577, [email protected]

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