The US suicide rate has increased at an alarming pace during the past 15 years, largely due to mental illness, drug abuse and the economic recession, according to a new report by the US government.
Suicide rates in the United States
jumped 24 percent in the years between 1999 and 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report released on Friday.
The rise was particularly steep for white women and Native Americans, the data analysis found.
The suicide rate increased 45 percent among females and 16 percent among males, narrowing the gap between the two genders.
Native Americans had the sharpest rise of all racial and ethnic groups, with rates rising by 89 percent for women and 38 percent for men.
The increases were so widespread that they lifted the nation’s suicide rate to 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986.
“The findings in this report are extremely concerning,” said Nadine Kaslow, a researcher at Emory University in Atlanta and past president of the American Psychological Association.
“It’s really stunning to see such a large increase in suicide rates affecting virtually every age group,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior adviser for health care at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who has identified a link between suicides in middle age and rising rates of distress about jobs and personal finances.
A vast number of people who die from suicide are those with psychiatric conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, said Jeffrey Borenstein, President and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
The economic recession of the late 2000s and the increase of drug addiction are some of the other factors leading to more frequent incidents of suicide, said Kristin Holland, a behavioral scientist at the CDC.
The data analysis provided fresh evidence of suffering among white Americans. Researchers who reviewed the analysis said the patterns in age and race painted a picture of desperation for many in American society
“This is part of the larger emerging pattern of evidence of the links between poverty, hopelessness and health,” said Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard and the author of “Our Kids,” an investigation of new class divisions in America.