Suicide doesn’t discriminate: It affects people regardless of age, race, class, gender or income level, and for every completed suicide, there are 25 other attempts. That’s why it’s a public health crisis — it is the tenth leading cause of death in United States. And now that number may be on the rise. According to a new report, suicide rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, with a particular uptick observed in indigenous women.
The report, published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, found the suicide rate was 33 percent higher in 2017 than in 1999, making it the highest since World War II. The increase affected both women and men; however, Native American and Native Alaskan rates were particularly high.
Native Americans have long been considered “at risk.” They are far more impoverished than other racial groups, alcoholism and sexual assaults are prevalent issues and their healthcare system is underfunded. “As a result of historical trauma, chronically underfunded federal programs, and broken promises on the part of the US government,” Native Americans have high suicide rates, the Center for Native American Youth reports.
The CDC also found a sharp increase in teen suicides and suicides by young adults, a statistic which JAMA confirmed last week.
Officials weren’t surprised by these results. Nadine Kaslow, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine and chief psychologist at the Grady Health System in Atlanta, told CNN they were expected. Unfortunately, these same individuals did not offer any suggestions to prevent suicide or remedy this growing epidemic.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org, or text “START” to 741-741 to immediately speak to a trained counselor at Crisis Text Line.
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