Leo Sher, M.D.
Three days ago, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, “Vital Signs: Trends in State Suicide Rates – United States, 1999-2016 and Circumstances Contributing to Suicide – 27 States, 2015” was published (1). Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30% since 1999. In this study, suicide rates were analyzed for persons aged ≥10 years based on 1999-2016 data from the National Vital Statistics System for 50 states and the District of Columbia. Also, data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, covering 27 states in 2015, were used to examine circumstances which contributed to suicide death.
During 1999–2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states. There was an increase in suicide rates by more than 30% in 25 states. Suicide rates increased in all states except Nevada (where the rate was consistently high throughout the study period), with absolute increases ranging from 0.8 per 100,000 (Delaware) to 8.1 (Wyoming). Percentage increases in rates ranged from 5.9% (Delaware) to 57.6% (North Dakota). The most recent overall suicide rates (2014–2016) varied significantly, from 6.9 (District of Columbia) to 29.2 (Montana) per 100,000 persons per year.
Fifty-four percent of suicide victims in 27 states in 2015 did not have a known psychiatric condition. Various circumstances including relationship problems/loss, life stressors, and recent/impending crises contributed to suicides among individuals with and without known psychiatric disorders. The CDC report suggests that the high prevalence of different contributing circumstances among those with and without known psychiatric conditions shows the importance of addressing the broad range of factors that contribute to suicide.
1. Stone DM, Simon TR, Fowler KA, Kegler SR, Yuan K, Holland KM, Ivey-Stephenson AZ, Crosby AE. Vital Signs: Trends in State Suicide Rates – United States, 1999-2016 and Circumstances Contributing to Suicide – 27 States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018 Jun 8;67(22):617-624. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6722a1.