According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of suicides by firearm experienced an 11 percent increase between 2019 and 2022
The report, released Thursday, revealed that an estimated 27,024 Americans took their own life by firearm in 2022, in contrast to 23,941 people in 2019.
Regarding all race and ethnicity groups, American Indian and Alaska Native people saw the highest rate increase, at 66 percent. As reported by ABC News, the highest firearm suicide rates last year were observed among white people, followed by American Indian and Alaska Native people. Meanwhile, the rates amongst other race/ethnicity groups, including Asian or Pacific Islanders, Black and Hispanic people, had two half or less the rate of those top two groups.
In a similar CDC report published earlier this week, provisional data for 2022 found that the total number of suicides by firearm was 49,449 in 2022, a 3 percent increase from the 48,183 seen in 2021.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics as of August data, which was “based on more than 99 percent of all 2022 death records” processed by the National Center for Health Statistics.
The data, which was “based on more than 99% of all 2022 death records” processed by the National Center for Health Statistics as of August, found that the suicide rate for 2022 went up to 14.3 deaths per 100,000. The findings surpass 2021’s rater of 14.1, which was the highest rate since 1941.
Regarding age group, adults above the age of 35 were found to be the most heavily impacted group when it came to suicide. The groups experienced the highest increases from the previous year, with the increases ranging from 3 percent to 9 percent.
The report also found that white females had the highest suicide rate, the largest increase of any group in 2022, with a rate increase ranging from 7.1 to 7.3. Meanwhile, four times as many males as females took their own life last year, 39,255 to 10,194, respectively.
On the other hand, the study noted that “suicides for females are more likely to be incomplete” because “their deaths more frequently involve drug poisonings.” In contrast, the suicide rates for people under 35 years old saw a decrease overall.
Meanwhile, Native Americans and Alaska natives remained the ethnic group experiencing the highest suicide rate, at 26.7 per 100,000.
Dr. Melinda Moore, a clinical psychologist and professor at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), told Catholic News Agency that the suicide rate is at a record high, adding that the number of people contemplating suicide likely “dwarfs” the number of deaths.
“I see a lot of suicidal ideation on my college campus (students, clients we treat in our training clinic at EKU) and also in my private practice,” Moore said. “We know that about 12.6 million Americans indicated they had serious thoughts of suicide in 2021, and, I suspect, this number is increasing as well.”
Although “there is not one reason we can ever point to that can demonstrate why an individual dies by suicide,” the “suicide rates have been steadily increasing for about 50 years,” and this is “likely due to a combination” of “reasons why people despair,” Moore said.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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