The number of Americans who committed suicide in 2021 increased to 48,183, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It was the highest figure registered in the country since 2018, when a record 48,344 people took their own lives, the US health protection agency said in a report on Thursday.
Suicides had been on the decline for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020, with 47,511 and 45,979 cases, respectively.
The report did not give specific reasons for the suicide increase of 2,204 in 2021, which pushed the rate up to 14.2 per 100,000 citizens.
The CDC only said that “suicide is a complex problem related to multiple risk factors such as relationship, job or school, and financial problems, as well as mental illness, substance use, social isolation, historical trauma, barriers to health care, and easy access to lethal means of suicide among persons at risk.”
The agency called for vigilance in prevention efforts “as the nation continues to respond to the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The study also looked at those who took their own lives in 2021 from the perspective of race and ethnicity, revealing that the highest rate of suicides – 28.1 per 100,000 – was among American Indians and Alaska Natives.
According to the agency, the suicide rate also “increased significantly” among African Americans aged between 10 and 24 years – from 8.2 in 2018 to 11.2 in 2021, or by 36.6%.
The only group which saw a decrease in self-killings during the four-year period were white Americans. The suicide rate among them went down by 3.9%, from 18.1 to 17.4 per 100,000, the report said.
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