A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown that suicide rates are rising in almost every state. Suicide is now the tenth leading cause of death in the country, and one of only three on the rise, in addition to Alzheimer's and drug overdoses.
New federal data shows suicide rates are up by 30 percent across the nation.
In North Dakota, the rate jumped more than 57 percent.
Firearms were the most commonly reported method of suicides (48.5%), though decedents with known mental health conditions were less likely to die by firearm (40.6%) and more likely to use strangulation (31.3%) or poisoning (19.8%) than those without (26.9% and 10.4%, respectively).
A 2017 Kansas report on suicide prevention from the Governor's Behavioral Health Services Planning Council listed promoting funding opportunities for suicide prevention among its recommendations. The majority of suicide victims the CDC tracked in 2015-16 had no previously diagnosed mental health condition.
Many people who died by suicide, according to the report, had recently experienced hard life events such as relationship problems, physical ailments, financial stress and job or home loss.
Experts note that mental illness may have been underreported in the study, either because the person who killed themself had not yet been diagnosed or because those left behind were not aware their loved one's condition. Finding economic circumstances was a major contributing factor, especially during the Great Recession (2008). "We can see suicide rates improve slower than the economy".
"In addition to making sure Missouri's farmers and ranchers have a strong safety net and access to trade, we need to ensure they have access to the mental health resources that are often lacking in rural areas", McCaskill said in a statement.
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"Too many Kansans are lost to suicide each year", KDADS Secretary Tim Keck said.
"Those are the times to really support each other", Schuchat said. While the study did not look at the potential reasons why that might be, Schuchat offered a possible explanation.
The rates of suicide for all states and the District of Columbia were calculated using data from the National Vital Statistics System. The most recent rates, for the years 2014 to 2016, ranged from a low of 6.9 per 100,000 residents per year in Washington, D.C., to a high of 29.2 per 100,000 residents in Montana. The rate increase in Missouri was 36.4 percent.
Only Nevada recorded a decline - of 1 percent - for the overall period, although its rate remained higher than the national average.
Recommendations include comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention, which requires coordination from every sector of society from the government to community organizations.
"Suicide is a leading cause of death for Americans - and it's a tragedy for families and communities across the country", said CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat.
The Minnesota Health Department has increased efforts to identify at-risk communities to help reduce suicides.
Among the stark numbers in the CDC report was the one signaling a high number of suicides among people without a known mental health condition.
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