Despite all efforts, suicide rates continue to climb for both men and women
Suicide rates in the United States continue to be a serious concern, as a new finding from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) indicates that both men and women are increasingly taking their own lives.
Using the same data as the recent report from the CDC, which found a 25% increase in suicides in America from 1999 to 2016, the NCHS researchers say they found a 30% increase in the overall age-adjusted suicide rate from 2000 to 2016.
From 2000 to 2006, the suicide rate consistently increased by an average of 1% each year. However, starting in 2006, the rate doubled to 2% annually, according to Holly Hedegaard, MD. Hedegaard is from the NCHS Office of Analysis and Epidemiology.
Suicide has remained the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. for people of all ages, but in 2016 it also became the second leading cause of death for people between 10 to 34 years of age.
“Although the Healthy People 2020 target is to reduce suicide rates to 10.2 per 100,000 by 2020, suicide rates have steadily increased in recent years,” the authors cautioned.
While suicide rates increased for both genders, women showed a significantly higher increase in suicide rate during the time period of the study. Particularly, the researchers found a 50% increase in the suicide rate for women from 2000 to 2016 across all age groups.
The age group with the highest risk for suicide was women between the ages of 45 and 64, for which the rate increased from 6.2 per 100,000 in 2000 to 9.9 per 100,000 in 2016.
The researchers did find some notable differences among different age groups, particularly relating to the method used to commit suicide.
Among girls between 10 to 14, the majority of suicides were attributed to suffocation. This method was also the leading cause for women between 15 to 24. This changed for women 25 to 44 years old, who most often used firearms to take their lives. Women over 45 most often used poisoning.
Although women showed the most significant increase in suicide rate, men were still statistically most likely to take their own life, accounting for 3.6 times the number of suicides.
Men also showed a variation in method used to commit suicide based on age:
- 15-24 years of age: 51% of suicides involved firearms
- 25-44: 48% involved firearms
- 45-64: 55% involved firearms
- 65-74: 74% involved firearms
- 75 and older: 81% involved firearms