Suicide Rates Climb in CDC Mortality Report
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers a few ways our society can combat that unfortunate statistic
January 31, 2020
Suicide is among the top 10 causes of death in the United States, and the statistic, unfortunately, continued to climb in 2018.
According to this month’s mortality report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide deaths rose 1.4 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. The CDC found 47,173 registered deaths in 2017 were intentional, and that number increased to 48,344 in 2018.
The continued rise in suicide follows last year’s mortality report finding a 3.7 percent increase between 2016 and 2017, from 44,965 suicides to 47,173, respectively. Between 2015 and 2016, the CDC found a 1.5 percent increase.
The big picture is clear: Suicide is a societal problem that continues to get worse and worse.
It’s one of the reasons Outlier Features founder and CEO Jessica Meyer pivoted from a career in law to one of exploring and sharing alternative mental health treatment options after a decade of managing chronic depression purely through pharmaceutical medication.
“The number of people who committed suicide last year is more than the number of people who died by car accident. With all our advances, there is still so much suffering and there shouldn’t be,” Meyer said in a Q & A about launching Outlier Features. “There’s a lot of misdiagnosis and mistreatment. There’s a real desperation from health care professionals for new treatments – drugs only work for about a third of people up to a year.”
To be clear, Outlier Features is not anti-medication, but as Meyer explained, “I’m trying to sift through the noise and get people reputable and credible information. I just want people to know the truth so that they’re not just blindly trusting what their physician advises.”
Mental health is a particularly hard area for any doctor to diagnose or treat, because the symptoms are often internal, and don’t manifest physically the way other illnesses do. However, Outlier Features has already spoken to one of the leading functional medicine doctors, who explained how inflammation within the body can deeply impact the mind.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention — the largest non-profit organization of its kind in the United States — there is no single cause to suicide. “It most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition,” the website states.
“This increase in the suicide rate is very disappointing. Suicide remains the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. However, there is reason for hope. The 2018 mortality data is showing a smaller percentage increase when compared to last year’s mortality data report – 1.4 percent increase in 2018 versus an almost 4 percent increase in 2017.
In response to the CDC’s latest mortality report, Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, Vice President of Research for the AFSP, said suicide rates are likely to increase “until we scale up intervention efforts at the community, state and national levels.”
“Suicide is preventable. As a nation, we must take action by making a major investment in suicide research; translating that research into treating mental health; and further educating the public on the warning signs of suicide and what to do if someone is struggling,” she said in a statement.
The AFSP listed three major ways our society can reduce climbing suicide rates.
- Access to affordable, comprehensive health care, which includes mental health care.
- Training primary care physicians and all clinicians on how to better detect suicidal risk and provide lifesaving treatment.
- Improve our collective understanding of mental health, including how to seek help and have caring, informed conversations about the subject.
This site is for educational purposes and not a substitute for professional medical care by a doctor or otherwise qualified medical professional. The information provided by Outlier Magazine is on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.