CDC report reveals more than 45,000 Americans took their own lives in 2016

Friday, 08 Jun, 2018

The CDC has calculated that suicides from opioid overdoses almost doubled between 1999 and 2014, and data from a 2014 national survey showed that individuals addicted to prescription opioids had a 40 percent to 60 percent higher risk of suicidal ideation. Information about contributing circumstances for those who died by suicide was obtained via the National Violent Death Reporting System, which is relatively new and in place in only 27 states. And so that's one of the things that this study really shows us.

The study also comes a day after Netflix announced plans for a third season of its hit series "13 Reasons Why", which focuses on a high schooler's suicide. Last year, the CDC released a package on suicide prevention that includes strategies based on the best available evidence. The increases were particularly stark in the states in the intermountain West, including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota and Oklahoma. A 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine compared states with the lowest household gun ownership rates (15 percent) to those with the highest (47 percent).

The findings were published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"The reason most suicide decedents don't have a known mental disorder is that they were never diagnosed, not that they didn't have one", said Dr. David Brent, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.

The report says that in 27 states, 54 percent of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition - however, they note that individuals may have had mental health problems that were never diagnosed.

Although there is no single cause for suicide, information from coroners' reports suggests numerous deaths followed relationship problems, substance use, and financial crises, according to the CDC.

Firearm ownership is common, and Delaney said "the literature is getting pretty strong" that states with easier access to guns have higher suicide rates.

The CDC is hoping future research delves into the specific causes of suicide trends, as NVDRS was capable of providing significant insight into decedent characteristics in more than half of the states.

New York City's Medical Examiner ruled fashion designer icon Kate Spade's death a suicide by hanging.

"Look for those warning signs in people you love and care for", Schuchat said. If you're anxious about someone, she recommends taking action by "engaging in a conversation that goes a little bit deeper and letting them know that you're there, that you can listen to what they need you to listen to".

The CDC report cites several different approaches, such as working to stabilize housing and teaching coping and problem-solving skills early in life. Keep them safe, and possibly remove items that can harm them.

Suicide requires both motivation and means. It's important to talk about this issue, and end the stigma.

Every day, 123 Americans commit suicide. Approximately half of such deaths involve the use of a firearm. "The conversation about firearms and suicide doesn't have to be a debate about the Second Amendment".

"Focusing suicide prevention efforts exclusively in health care settings is insufficient".

"You may be thinking about it over time, but that moment when you actually make an attempt is a very short window", he explains.