The national rate for suicide, one of the top ten causes of death in the United States, fell for the first time in more than a decade in 2019, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
The CDC report, “Mortality in the United States, 2019,” released December 2020, revealed that between 2018 and 2019, the adjusted-for-age death rates for suicide fell by 2.1% in the country. (RELATED: Military Suicides Increase During Coronavirus Pandemic, Army Officials Say)
Age-adjusted death rates for heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, influenza and pneumonia also decreased between 2018 and 2019, according to the report’s findings.
2018 saw 48,344 suicide deaths, and 2019 saw 47,511, a decrease of 833 deaths, an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) press release stated.
The last time the suicide rate fell was from 2004 to 2005. It also dropped twice between 1999 and 2004, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
While suicide is still the 10th leading cause of death, according to these data, the suicide rate went down for the first time in two decades. The rate of suicide in 2019 decreased by 2.1 percent from the previous year.— American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (@afspnational) December 22, 2020
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“Several factors may have contributed to the decrease in rate from 2018 to 2019,” said AFSP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christine Moutier according to the statement.
“Creating a culture open to talking about mental health and suicide prevention, educating people about what to do when they are in distress, making help available to those who seek it … and passing legislation that make suicide prevention a top national priority are all positive advancements that we’ve seen over the past several years that likely had a collective impact,” Moutier added.
Before the CDC report’s publication, the agency’s website mentioned upward trends in suicide since the COVID-19 pandemic’s beginning.
While suicide deaths saw a drop in 2019 compared to 2018, Robert Anderson from CDC said that preliminary data indicate that the numbers did not continue to drop in 2020, the AP reported.