CDC data reveals suicide death reached record high in 2022

More people died by suicide in 2022 than ever before, according to new provisional data from the CDC. The agency reports the suicide rate also spiked in 2021 after a two-year decline nationwide.

These findings show about 49,500 people took their own lives last year. It shows guns were involved in more than half of all suicide deaths.

Experts say there’s more access to guns now along with other contributing factors.

“We also have large scale economic uncertainty, social isolation [is a] major factor. Also, difficulty around accessing mental health care is really important here,” said Dr. Naomi Torres-Mackie, clinical psychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital and head of research at The Mental Health Coalition.

This latest CDC data shows the number of suicide deaths increased for almost every age group. The highest was among seniors over 65. But it also shows these numbers dropped for young people between 10 and 24 years old.

These numbers won’t be finalized until later this year. However, Dr. Torres-Mackie said the COVID-19 pandemic is another major factor.

“We will be seeing the impact of pandemic, loss of disrupted income, disrupted plans, the mental health load of surviving a global pandemic, it’s hard to overstate the importance of that,” she said.

This all comes one year since the launch of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This number connects you to licensed counselors who are trained to help de-escalate a crisis and provide emotional support or additional mental health resources.

Federal data shows staff responded to nearly 5 million calls, texts, and online messages through the hotline over the last year.

“Nine in ten Americans today will tell you that they’re experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

But a recent poll released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness reveals more than 80 percent of adults were unfamiliar it or hadn’t heard of the number.

Sec. Becerra said he wants people to know there is help if they need.

“If you have an emergency at home you know to call 911. Now after decades that’s in our brain - 911. Well people should think 988 - it’s the same thing but for mental health crises,” he said.

Some experts also want the federal government to increase funding for mental health treatments.

You can find a list of mental health resources here:

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