Suicide deaths reached a record high in the US in 2022, despite hopeful decreases among children and young adults

More people died from suicide in the United States last year than any other year on record, dating to at least 1941, according to provisional data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least 49,449 lives were lost due to intentional self-harm in 2022 – more than 14 deaths for every 100,000 people.

Men were about four times more likely than women to die by suicide, and rates were highest among senior men. But the suicide rate increased twice as much for women in 2022, with especially significant increases among White women and those ages 25 to 34.

Suicide rates have been rising in the US for the past few decades. In 2021, the US surgeon general called for the implementation of a national prevention strategy and issued an advisory focused on protecting youth mental health amid a spike in suicide rates and “alarming increases” in mental health challenges among young people.

Despite the overall increase, provisional data from 2022 shows signs of improvement in rates among children and teens. The suicide rate for children ages 10 to 14 dropped 18% in 2022, to about 2 deaths for every 100,000 children, and the rate among those ages 15 to 24 fell 9% to about 14 deaths for every 100,000 people.

Teen boys and young men had more significant improvement in suicide rates than young females did. But the vast majority of suicide deaths among teens and young adults ages 15 to 24 were still among males, the provisional data shows.

Rates for all other age groups increased, the provisional data shows. Overall age-adjusted rates remained highest among American Indian people, with about 27 suicide deaths for every 100,000 people. Rates among White people were also higher than average, with about 18 deaths for every 100,000 people.

More than half of suicides involve firearms, and a separate analysis of provisional CDC data by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions found that gun suicides reached a record high in 2022.

“Gun suicides continue to take the lives of elderly white men at high rates and increasingly, the lives of Black teens,” said Ari Davis, policy advisor for the center, in the analysis.

“If we can put time and space between this lethal method and someone in crisis, it can save lives,” he told CNN.

In the summer of 2022, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration launched the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, transitioning from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a broader focus and a simpler dial code. Since then, 988 has received about 7 million calls, texts, and chats including more than 500,000 in September alone, according to federal data.

But some survey data suggests that many adults in the US don’t know that they can call, text or send a chat online to 988 to reach licensed counselors trained to de-escalate a crisis, provide emotional support or connect them with additional mental health resources, and that more training and resources could help the lifeline better support people in need.


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