The number of people who died by suicide increased from 2020 to 2021, after a temporary decline, according to preliminary data released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Experts say this indicates that suicide rates are returning to pre-pandemic levels.
In 2021, 47,646 people will die by suicide in the United States, up from 45,979 in 2020. This is an increase of almost 4%.
Experts had expected the suicide rate to peak in 2018 after nearly two decades of steady growth. There was a slight decrease in both 2019 and 2020.
Julie Serrell, director of the Suicide Prevention and Exposure Institute at the University of Kentucky, says the reasons for these declines are unclear.
“In 2019, something changed,” he said. “Whether it was because we were doing the right thing or not, I don’t know.”
Suicide rates did not increase in 2020 despite the stress associated with the pandemic. Serrell said, “I’m not surprised.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, “people were looking out for each other,” he said. My family was mostly together at home, working and studying remotely. Serrell says people tend to die by suicide in the absence of others.
The 2021 increase is likely to partly reflect a return to normalcy.
The report found that men aged 15–24 are still at higher risk than other groups. There will be 24.1 suicides per 100,000 people in 2021, up 8% from 22.4 in 2020.
Michael Lindsey, dean of New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, said: “The higher percentage of young men may be more likely to engage in high-risk behavior and access the most lethal means of attempted suicide. ’ said. Lindsey’s research focuses on suicide prevention in young people, especially black youth.
The report does not provide a racial/ethnic breakdown of recent suicides. However, previous research points to a worrying increase among black youth.
There is also an increase in suicide rates among men aged 24–44 and men aged 65–74.
While men have historically committed more suicides than women, the report highlights another worrying trend: suicide among school-aged girls.
In 2020, 204 girls aged 10–14 died by suicide. In 2021, that number will increase by 16% to 237. However, due to the small overall numbers in this age group, the difference is not considered statistically significant.
“Don’t jump to conclusions,” said Serrell. “But we also have to keep an eye on young girls.”
Lindsey says all the increases cited in the report reflect the demand for more mental health professionals to address the growing problem.
“Therefore, ‘The required number of providers does not exist.