Overall, suicide rates in the United States dropped last year – but not for everyone

Suicide among men decreased by 2%, and suicide among women decreased by 8%, with the largest decrease occurring in non-Hispanic white women. Suicide in this group decreased by 10% from 2019 to 2020.

However, not all populations experienced a decline.

While suicide rates fell among women of all races and ethnic groups, the fall of only 10% for non-Hispanic white women was statistically significant. However, suicide rates rose for non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic American Indians, and Native American Alaska and Hispanic men.

Suicide for Latin American men increased by statistically significant 5%, and the number of men aged 25-35 years also experienced a significant increase of 5% from 2019 to 2020.

“Suicide is a complex, multifaceted public health problem with societal, environmental, interpersonal, biological, and psychological components,” wrote researchers affiliated with the CDC’s Division of Vital Statistics and the Division of Analysis and Epidemiology.

“The Covid-19 pandemic increased many of the risk factors associated with suicidal behavior (adverse mental health conditions, substance abuse and job or financial stress), with young adults and blacks and Hispanics being affected more than other demographic groups.”

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The different impact of pandemic stressors may be part of why the decline in suicide was not seen across all demographic groups.

“What you see when you look at the different groups is that there are some differences, as the overall number and speed is driven by what happens to the majority group – non-Hispanic whites, both men and women,” Sally Curtin, a member of NCHS’s Division of Vital Statistics and lead author of the report, told CNN.

“I think it’s pretty much general knowledge now that Covid affected different demographic groups differently, and some were hit harder than others,” she said.

There is still more work to be done

While the decline observed in this report follows a 2% drop in suicide rates from 2018 to 2019, Curtin said there is still a need to “remain vigilant” regarding suicide.

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“As for 2021, of course, we have to stay vigilant. I mean, it does not mean ‘Oh, wow’, you know, ‘We have arrived’ or ‘This has been found out’, because historically the number is still quite high. That was just under 46,000 suicides in 2020. “

It is lower than 2017, 2018, 2019, but then it is higher than any other figure before that. So even though it has been down the last few years, as I said, it is still highly historic, she said.

“As this report shows, some groups continue to go up, and for the most part groups that had hikes were just continuations of upward lanes.”

The data presented in the report are preliminary, meaning they are not the final suicide rates for 2020. Suicide deaths can take months to vote accurately because it may take some research to determine how to categorize a death. .

The study authors said that especially preliminary data on suicides in women may lag behind in men because poisonings take longer to investigate, but make up a larger proportion of women’s suicides than men. Still, the authors said they expect the preliminary 2020 results to be “consistent with the final 2020 data.”

Curtin said that when understanding the observed decline, it is important to remember that risk factors do not always correspond to increased suicide rates.

“We know there were more emergency room visits for young women with, you know, self-harm. So there were things that indicated that deaths might increase,” she said.

“It’s not just a question of, you know, automatically: ‘OK, the risk factors increased. Therefore, we can expect this to increase. “It’s not that simple with suicide.”


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