Advertisement

Twenty-five U.S. states saw increases in suicides of more than 30 percent in the 21st century, according to new CDC statistics released Thursday.

Overall, 44 states counted significant increases.

Among the startling new findings, the CDC found that more than half of the suicides counted in America involved no known diagnosed mental health conditions.

Instead, relationship problems, substance abuse, physical problems and stressors including money, housing and legal issues were most often reported as contributors.

“Suicide is a growing public health problem,” the report said.

The counts were based on state data stretching from 1999 through 2016.

The look into the underlying circumstances came from 2015 data from the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System, and especially for the factors of mental illnesses.

The most recent year of self-inflicted deaths counted was 2016, which saw 45,000 suicides in the United States of people over the age of 10.

But the rates varied widely from region to region. For instance, the suicide rate per 100,000 people in the latest three years period ranged from 6.9 in Washington D.C., to 29.2 in Montana.

The greatest increases were in a wide swath of states in the West and in the Heartland, such as Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, both Dakotas, Kansas and Oklahoma all counted suicide spikes of between 38 and 58 percent over the beginning of the century. But so too did Minnesota, South Carolina, Vermont and New Hampshire.

The increases were also experienced among both sexes and all racial categories.

Of those with no known mental health condition for the 2015 toll, some common threads emerged: 45 percent had some reported relationship problem or loss; 25 percent reported problematic substance abuse; and 50 percent from a wide swath of life stressors, including legal problems, health problems, institutionalization and financial problems.

Much still remains unknown. Among all suicides in 2015 studied as part of the data, only 34.5 percent left a note.

Recent studies have attempted to understand the inherited risk of taking one’s own life, but the DNA and epigenetics continues to pose a difficult riddle.

Advertisement
Advertisement