CDC Says 2022 Records Highest US Suicide Rate

In 2022, suicide deaths in the United States reached a record high, with a 2.6% increase to 49,449 deaths.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled the preliminary estimates.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “One life lost to suicide is one too many. Yet, too many people still believe asking for help is a sign of weakness. We must continue to eliminate the stigmatization of mental health and make care available to all Americans.”

After a decline in 2019 and 2020, suicide deaths saw a 5% rise to 48,183 deaths in 2021. The latest provisional estimates indicate a further increase in suicide deaths during 2022.

The CDC’s Chief Medical Officer, Debra Houry, expressed concern over the escalation, saying, “The troubling increase in suicides requires immediate action across our society to address the staggering loss of life from tragedies that are preventable.”

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy advocated for enhanced access to mental health care.

Murthy said, “These numbers are a sobering reminder of how urgent it is that we further expand access to mental health care, address the root causes of mental health struggles and recognize the importance of checking on and supporting one another.”

While an overall increase occurred, the CDC noted declines of 6.1% for American Indian and Alaska Native individuals. Statistics for those aged 10-24 years showed an 8.4% decrease.

In other demographic groups, suicide rates showed a consistent increase. White suicides saw a 2.1% rise, going from 36,681 to 37,459; Black/African American suicide deaths increased by 3.6%, from 3,692 to 3,825; Asian suicide fatalities surged by 5.7%, from 1,379 to 1,458 and multiracial suicides climbed by 7.9%, from 631 to 681.

The male suicide rate experienced a 2.3% increase, going from 38,358 deaths in 2021 to 39,255 deaths in 2022. The female suicide rate witnessed a 3.8% rise, going from 9,825 deaths in 2021 to 10,194 deaths in 2022.

Despite the uptick in such fatalities, there is optimism stemming from increased resources and awareness about mental health concerns. A new nationwide crisis hotline introduced a year ago, allows individuals to dial 9-8-8 and access assistance from mental health experts.