The Growing Rate of Suicide in the United States


During the week of June 3rd, 2018, the world lost fashion designer Kate Spade and travel chef documentarian Anthony Bourdain through suicide. The unexpected loss of these two influential people stunned the world since no visual signs of suicide was present. Kate Spade built her international fashion empire to be valued for $2.4 billion and Anthony Bourdain used international cuisines to connect with people from around the globe to learn about the issues occurring in each country. Despite their significant success and fortune, they must have experienced some sort of emptiness that they decided to end it all. In the United States, the growing rate of suicide has increased by 25% in the past 20 years. Suicide rates rose in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2016, 45,000 Americans took their own lives, doubling the number of homicides. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with 123 deaths per day. Between the ages of 15-34, suicide is said to be the second leading cause of death.

With the suicide rate increasing, society is questioning why so little has been done to address that suicide is not the solution to any problem. Society views suicide has a mental health issue but there have been individuals who have taken their own life that did not have any mental issue. According to NPR, "54 percent of the people who killed themselves didn't have a previously known mental health issue." These people must have been dealing with personal issues such as relationship issues, conflict at home, substance abuse, financial problems or additional issues that kept piling up. Even with adequate research and studies, it's hard to predict and difficult to understand who will commit suicide.

Firearms have resulted to 51 percent of suicides in 2016 in states that do not have strict gun laws established such as Montana and Oklahoma. The majority is men who use guns to commit suicide and men are less likely to seek help with public/mental health issues than women. Researchers have found that states with strict gun laws have low suicide rates such as New Jersey and New York.

However, firearms are not the only issue when someone is going to take their own life. It's also methods such as hanging, overdosing, suffocation that researchers are concerned on how to establish a suicide prevention to reduce the amount of suicide. The rise of suicide rate has been related as well to Americans diagnosed with depression, anxiety and other treatable mental disorders. If mental disorders are treatable than why can't the United States find the right treatment for people with these mental disorders?

Unfortunately, it's difficult to find the accurate treatment to prevent suicide since studies of mental health interventions exclude people who have suicidal thoughts. Also, if the United States want to reduce the rate of suicide public health efforts should not only focus on people who have reached out for help. Suicide is a public health issue that can be prevented with the right methods and treatment.

Clinical psychologist Jill Harkavy-Friedman says, "Starting that prevention early by teaching elementary school kids problem-solving and coping skills and how to take care of their mental and physical health is key." Adults and children have a trouble time talking to a loved one about their issues and often conceal they are having suicidal thoughts. The CDC reports that there are several different approaches to reduce suicide such as working to stabilize housing, teaching coping and learn problem-solving skills early in life. There are more effective treatments to reduce suicide than just taking anti-depressants.

If you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

References • Carey, B. (2018, June 08). How Suicide Quietly Morphed Into a Public Health Crisis. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/08/health/suicide-spade-bordain-cdc.html • Friedman, R. A. (2018, June 11). Suicide Rates Are Rising. What Should We Do About It? Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/opinion/suicide-rates-increase-anthony-bourdain-kate-spade.html • 123 Deaths a Day: Inside the Public Health Crisis of Rising Suicide Rates in the United States. (2018, June 11). Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://www.democracynow.org/2018/6/11/123_deaths_a_day_inside_the • Greenfieldboyce, N. (2018, June 07). CDC: U.S. Suicide Rates Have Climbed Dramatically. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/06/07/617897261/cdc-u-s-suicide-rates-have-climbed-dramatically • Cunningham, A. (2018, June 08). Suicide rates have shot up in almost every U.S. state. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://www.sciencenews.org/article/suicide-rates-have-shot-almost-every-us-state

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