Wednesday 19 April 2023

CDC report: Suicides soared to 48,183 in 2021 after two-year decline

  There were 48,183 Americans who died from suicide in 2021, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The total was just 161 suicide deaths below the record 48,344 in 2018.

The CDC’s April 13 report noted that there were 47,511 recorded deaths from suicide in 2019 and around 46,000 the following year. The number of suicide deaths recorded in 2021 represents a four percent increase.

“Data previously reported for 2019 and 2020 showed that for several subgroups, including women aged 25-74 and men aged 45-64 and 65-74, suicide rates had been declining from recent peaks seen in 2018. Data in 2021 show that the declines for some groups may have slowed or reversed,” the public health agency said.

With the four percent increase, suicide is now the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. It is also the second-leading cause of death among people belonging to the 10 through 34 years old age group.

While the CDC did not suggest a reason for the substantial increase, health experts have pointed their fingers at isolation caused by the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns as a huge factor. Financial harm brought about by pandemic-related business closures have also escalated rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.  

Mental issues caused by the pandemic affect all ages

According to the CDC report, suicide rates for girls aged 10 to 14 saw the biggest hike over the past 20 years. From 0.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2001, it went up to 2.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2021. This has caused public health experts to worry about the worsening mental health among the population’s younger sectors, given that girls generally have fared worse than boys when it came to this aspect.

It also noted that suicide rates among men were three to four times higher than among women in 2021. Men aged 15 to 24 saw an increase in suicide deaths between 2020 and 2021. From slightly over 22 per 100,000 people, this increased to almost 23.

Another notable increase was observed among women aged 75 and up. From 3.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in 2020, this hiked to 4.4 the following year. This could be due to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and grief over lost spouses or other loved ones during the pandemic.

As reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation, four in 10 American adults reported symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a marked increase from the one in 10 who reported similar symptoms from January to June 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset.

The mental health impacts of the pandemic on young adults were notably serious, as attested by a 2021 study from Boston College. The paper said that during the first year of the pandemic, Americans aged between 18 and 29 experienced a 61 percent increase in depression and 65 percent increase in anxiety.

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