After two consecutive years of declines, suicide rates in the United States increased in 2021, nearly matching the record high from 2018.
There were 48,183 deaths by suicide in 2021, after 45,979 in 2020 and 47,511 in 2019, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Age-adjusted suicide rates among American Indian or Alaska Native people were the highest across the groups, with 28.1 suicide deaths per 100,000, and experienced the largest relative percentage change between 2018 and 2021 at a 26 percent increase. Suicide rates also increased by about 19 percent among Black people between 2018 and 2021, and by 6.8 percent among Hispanic people between 2018 and 2021.
The only group to see a decrease was non-Hispanic white people, where rates dropped by nearly 4 percent.
Increased suicide rates among younger Black Americans ages 10 to 24, which went up by approximately 36 percent, raised “particular concern,” the CDC said.
Suicide rates among those ages 45 to 64 “decreased significantly overall” by about 12.4 percent, according to the CDC.
The CDC cited various reasons for the increased suicide rates, including personal, professional and financial issues, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.
“Suicide is a complex problem related to multiple risk factors such as relationship, job or school, and financial problems, as well as mental illness, substance use, social isolation, historical trauma, barriers to health care, and easy access to lethal means of suicide among persons at risk,” the CDC said.
“As the nation continues to respond to the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, remaining vigilant in prevention efforts is critical, especially among disproportionately affected populations where longer-term impacts might compound preexisting inequities in suicide risk,” it added.