The U.S federal agencies have declared suicide to be a national problem. An article in The Washington Post states that the rates of suicide have been rising steadily across all the United States since 1996. People of almost all the age groups, ethnicities, genders, and races are accounted for this increase. Moreover, more than half of the people who committed suicide were not diagnosed with any kind of mental illness. They did not show any kind of disorder prevailing in their minds or thoughts.
Around 45,000 people committed suicide in the U.S. in 2016. Montana showed the highest suicide rate during 2014-2016 with 29.2 victims for every 100,000 residents. North Dakota exhibited the biggest increase at 57 percent. Nevada was the only state that showed a decline in suicides. Despite its one percent improvement, its suicide rate remained higher than the national average of 13.4 suicides per 100,000 people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had reported suicide to be the 10th leading cause of deaths overall. Furthermore, it is asserted to be the second most common cause of death for people of ages between 15 and 34 years. CDC official Anne Schuchat said that the statistical data regarding the rates of suicide are dangerously disturbing. The problem is not confined to a specific region or a particular part of the country, its widespread nature suggests that this is a national problem hitting most of the communities.
The Great Recession, a decade ago, has been revealed to be the most obvious reason for suicides and their ever-increasing rate. That decline increased the rate of foreclosures. A 2017 study linked it with a slight rise in suicide rates for all groups. The highest increase was reported for white males.
Another potential reason is the present opioids’ or illegal drugs’ crisis. The CDC estimated that the number of suicides via opioid overdose almost doubled from 1999 to 2014. However, particular rates due to intentional and accidental overdosing are a challenging task. Furthermore, a 2014 survey revealed that opioid addicts were 40 to 60 percent more prone to committing suicide. Habitual users were also much more prone to actually attempt suicide as compared to non-users.
The CDC reported that a high number of suicide victims did not display any signs of mental health problems. Thus, if a person is mentally stable or isn’t expected to have mental impatience, you still cannot think of him/her safe. The National Violent Death Reporting System reported cases from around 27 different states and more than 50 percent of the cases could not be attributed to mental illness.
Joshua Gordon, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health stressed upon the contextual considerations of the statistical analysis. According to Joshua, a psychological autopsy should be carried out by carefully looking at the medical records of the patients and by talking to their family members. According to him, 90 percent will have the evidence of the mental health conditions of the victims.
Gordon, to some extent, blamed the cultural attitudes for these incidents. He also added that most of the time the victims don’t get the care they are supposed to have. He noted that male members from an ethnic minority are more likely to commit suicide despite being mentally stable because men are less likely to ask for help regarding their possible mental illness.
Strained relationships, stress caused by work or finances, substance use and abuse, poor physical health, and other domestic, social or political crises were reported to be the additional causes for higher suicidal rates by the CDC officials.