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US Suicides Reached an All-Time High in 2022 — But Dropped Among Gen Z

US Suicides Reached an All-Time High in 2022 — But Dropped Among Gen Z

The number of suicides in the U.S. has reached an all-time high, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that  49,500 individuals committed suicide in 2022.

However, in the midst of this distressing trend, Gen Z has defied the odds by displaying a drop in their suicide numbers. The number of suicides in individuals between the ages of 10 and 24 decreased by 8 percent from the previous year.

The CDC found a variety of factors that have contributed to this trend, such as heightened rates of depression and inadequate access to mental health services. But one key contributor stands out: the accessibility of firearms.

The report shared that suicide attempts involving firearms have a far more lethal outcome than those using alternative methods, and an increase in gun sales has made access much easier for those struggling with mental illness.

“I don’t know if you can talk about suicide without talking about firearms,” said Jill Harkavy-Friedman, senior vice president of research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

This disheartening surge is even more alarming given that it outpaces the rates seen since the era of World War II.

Starting in the early 2000s, suicide rates increased year after year until they reached a peak in 2018. Then, there was a slight downtrend until 2021, when the pandemic turned the trend back. Now, the numbers have continued to surge among a majority of adult age groups.

However, Gen Z was the only age group to see a decline in suicides in 2022. Health officials attribute this positive shift to increased attention on youth mental health issues, along with a concerted push by schools and communities to address this critical problem. Additionally, the launch of a national crisis line has helped provide a lifeline to individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, know there is help. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. There are people waiting to talk and help.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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