Suicides in the U.S. in 2022 were the highest in the past five years, with nearly 49,500 people taking their own lives that year, according to provisional data.
There were 49,449 suicides by people of all ages in 2022, with over 4,300 of them occurring in each of the months of May, July, and August, according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Up to 4,173 people died by their own hands in January 2023 alone, the highest January record since 2018, per the data. Suicides hit a five-year low in 2020, with 45,979 deaths.
Suicides in 2022 were the lowest among the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander population (95) and highest among the white population (37,459). American Indian or Alaska Native groups saw a drop in suicides from 2021 to 2022 were the American Indian or Alaska Native group and the youth group (aged 10–24 years), data shows.
Suicides increased among males and females from 2021 to 2022. They occurred overwhelmingly among males, with 38,358 male suicides in 2021 and 39,255 in 2022 as against 9,825 female suicides in 2021 and 10,194 in 2022, according to the CDC.
The data for 2022 and January 2023 is provisional, while the data for 2018–2020 is final. “Provisional data are based on death certificate data received, but not yet fully reviewed, by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Provisional data provide an early estimate of deaths before the release of final data,” the CDC noted. (RELATED: Youth Homicide Rate Spikes To Highest Level In Two Decades)
Deaths by suicide in the U.S. increased 2.6% in 2022, but decreased among young people and American Indian & Alaskan Native (AI/AN) people, according to new CDC provisional data.
— CDC (@CDCgov) August 10, 2023
Suicides are driven by various factors, including increased rates of depression and limited mental health support, The Associated Press (AP) reported. The drop in suicides in 2020, the first year of the COVID pandemic, might be attributed to community support in the early phase of the pandemic, per a separate AP report.
Christina Wilbur, whose 21-year-old son shot himself dead in 2022 in his mother’s presence after an argument about his drug use, said her life became a “black hole of emptiness and sorrow,” The AP reported.
Reacting to the statistics, Wilbur said, “There’s something wrong. The number should not be going up.”