CDC: Suicide in the Black Community Rising at Alarming Rate

Mental Health is at a crisis level in the United States and with it comes the rise of suicide.

black women

In 2022, suicides rose by nearly three percent. This follows on an overall five percent increase in suicides in 2021, according to officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This week the organization released the early data for 2022. Overall, 49,449 Americans lost their lives to suicide last year, up from 48,183 deaths in 2021. “Today’s report underscores the depths of the devastating mental health crisis in America,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said in a CDC news release.

“Mental health has become the defining public health and societal challenge of our time. Far too many people and their families are suffering and feeling alone.”

The ongoing rise in mental health issues led to the launching of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which is available 24/7 to anyone who feels they are in crisis. CDC statistics show that suicides amongst Black individuals is rising at an alarming rate. In 2018 to 2021, Black youth in the United States had the largest increase in suicides among people 10-24 years old were Black individuals, with an increase of 37 percent.

From 2000 to 2020, Black youth ages 10-19 experienced the largest increase in suicide rates, at 78 percent. Black youth were approximately two times more likely to die by suicide than their White counterparts. Black students also had a higher rate of suicide attempts when compared to their White and Hispanic counterparts.

According to the latest CDC data, there is some promising statistics, there has been an 8 percent decrease in 2022 for suicides among the very young (ages 10 to 24), and a six percent decrease among one group hit particularly hard by mental health issues and suicide, American Indian/Alaska Native people. Still, most demographics saw a rise in suicide rates.

“The troubling increase in suicides requires immediate action across our society to address the staggering loss of life from tragedies that are preventable,” said CDC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Debra Houry. “Everyone can play a role in efforts to save lives and reverse the rise in suicide deaths.”

According to Murthy, the newly released numbers “are a sobering reminder of how urgent it is that we further expand access to mental health care, address the root causes of mental health struggles, and recognize the importance of checking on and supporting one another. If you or a loved one are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, please know that your life matters and that you are not alone.”

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 for anyone who needs help.”

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