It is difficult to say exactly why the number of suicides has declined so much, but some experts have suggested that the phenomena seen in the early stages of war and national disasters may be a factor.
Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of the American Suicide Prevention Foundation, said: “I saw it, at least in the early days of the pandemic.”
She said the increased availability of telemedicine services and other efforts to improve the country’s suicide problem may have contributed.
Suicide in the United States increased steadily from the early 2000s to 2018, with nationwide suicide rates reaching their highest levels since 1941. This rate finally dropped slightly in 2019. Experts have acknowledged an increase in mental health screening and other suicide prevention efforts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a recent report that numbers fell further last year to less than 45,000. This was the lowest number of suicides in the United States since 2015.
Many were worried that such progress would end when COVID-19 arrived.
The pandemic caused a wave of business closures. Millions of people were forced to stay at home, many alone. In the survey, more Americans reported depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol use. In addition to that dangerous combination, firearm purchases increased by 85% in March 2020.
But last spring, in fact, the number of suicides fell the most dramatically this year, said Farida Ahmad of the CDC. It is the lead author of a recent report of the Journal of the American Medical Association and details the decline.
Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but fell to 11th place in 2020. This is primarily due to the arrival of COVID-19, the third murderer in the United States, killing at least 345,000 Americans. However, the decline in the number of suicides also contributed to the decline in rankings.
The CDC has not yet reported national suicide rates in 2020, nor does it provide a breakdown of suicides by state, age, race, or ethnicity.
Moutier wants to see more data. For example, she said that while overall suicides declined last year, suicides by young people and young adults may not have declined.
She is optimistic that the recent decline marks the beginning of a persistent trend. But she is also worried that overcoming the first threat of a pandemic and sinking into grief for people and what they have lost may have a delayed impact on the mental health of many. ..
“There is a kind of evolution of mental health pain,” she said. “You could see the full impact of this pandemic on mental health.”
The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.
Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
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