Nearly 50,000 Americans took their own lives in 2022, the highest number on record, provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday showed, as the suicide epidemic in the U.S. reaches a grim new mark.
Some 49,449 Americans died by suicide in 2022, provisional data from the CDC released Thursday showed, up 2.6% from 2021 when 48,183 died by suicide.
Adults 65 and older recorded the largest increase among the age categories the agency tracks, with suicide rates up 8.1% from 2021.
People age 45 to 64 saw a 6.6% rise and the rate of suicide among the 25 to 44 increased about 0.7%, the data showed.
Among the racial and ethnic groups the CDC tracks, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders had the largest increase in 2022, up 15.9%, according to the CDC.
The suicide rate increased 3.8% among American women in 2022, and American men saw a 2.3% increase , CDC data showed.
The suicide rate of young people decreased between 2021 and 2022, down 8.4% among those 10 to 24, according to the CDC.
Suicides have been steadily increasing in the U.S. for years. Between 2001 and 2021, suicide rates in the U.S. increased 31.8%, the CDC reported. In 2019 and 2020, rates declined but by 2021 they had returned to pre-pandemic levels. And it’s not just the CDC documenting the increase. In June, the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions published a report that found gun-related suicides were a leading factor in the rise in suicide rates. Between 2019 and 2021, the rate of suicides involving a gun rose 10%, the report found.
In an effort to combat the rising suicide rate, last summer the U.S. government announced it was investing more than $430 million in suicide prevention initiatives. Among the efforts was changing the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from a 10-digit phone number to a three-digit number people could call or text. But a YouGov poll from last month found that after a year with the new three-digit number, only 14% of Americans could recall the number on the spot and just 55% said they’d heard of it at all.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
It’s Been A Year Since The U.S. Launched The 988 Suicide Hotline—And 86% Of Americans Don’t Know It (Forbes)
Teen Suicide Plummeted During Covid-19 School Closures, New Study Finds (Forbes)