Suicide rates in almost every USA state rose from 1999 to 2016, with increases of more than 30 percent in half of the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released Thursday.
Fashion designer Kate Spade took her own life this week. Experts in the field have speculated the reported rate of 1 in every 400 physicians committing suicide is an underestimate, pointing to differing death classifications in known cases.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USA and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise.
In addition to the skyrocketing number of suicides in middle-aged adults, deaths by suicide are also on the rise in teens, with suicide now the second leading cause of death for all USA teens and young adults from ages 10 to 35. If we see someone struggling, what do we do? "Essentially every age group other than those over 75".
Adults ages 45 to 64 had the largest increase in the suicide rate, from 13.2 suicides per 100,000 people in 1999 to 19.2 suicides per 100,000 in 2016.
Suicide decedents without known mental health conditions were more likely to be male and non-Hispanic white than those with known mental health conditions.
Among the stark numbers in the CDC report was the one signaling a high number of suicides among people without a known mental health condition. The rate in the new CDC data was 15.4 per 100,000. The most recent rates, for the years 2014 to 2016, ranged from a low of 6.9 per 100,000 residents per year in Washington, D.C., to a high of 29.2 per 100,000 residents in Montana.
"So it's not just about firearms, it's also about other methods of suicide such as hanging, suffocation, poisoning and the like", she said.
And finally, Vermont has a lot of military veterans, and veterans as a group are twice as likely to die by suicide than the general population, Delaney said.
While the study emphasizes the need for more prevention resources, predicting suicides can be hard.
Brooke Plantega, KC's mother, says there is not enough work on prevention.
"Any change in behavior patterns, withdrawing, sadness, irritability, anger, and losing their temper more quickly - those would all be indicators that possibly that person's mental health is deteriorating", says Dr. Christine Moutier of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "If we only look at this as a mental health issue, we won't make the progress that we need".
The CDC report recommends increased cooperation and communication between government and the private sector.
"We're the 10th leading cause of death, yet we can't seem to get people to spend the money".
KTVU spoke with Courtney Brown from San Francisco Suicide Prevention Center to ask her more about the CDC study.
She speculated that inescapable social media, online bullying and the increased awareness of ways to die by suicide have contributed to rise in suicides. "Majority say it's glorified and not accurate at all", Brown said.
And the increase in suicides in MA has been blamed on the travails of middle-aged men, who account for the largest number of suicide deaths. Follow up to see how they're doing. "I'm not worth living", Brown said. "If someone mentions those sorts of things, dig a little bit deeper".
Researchers have only recently begun to understand the elements of suicidal thinking that actually predict an attempt. If you suspect someone of needing immediate help, call 911.