The number of persons taking their own lives across the United States (US) has increased by 25 per cent over the last 17 years.
That’s according to a study conducted by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also found that in 25 mainly western and mid-western states suicides have increased by 30 per cent.
“It means that around 16 out of every 100,000 Americans will take their own life,” the CDC study concluded, according to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
The findings were released days after the deaths of famed designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain brought the issue of suicide to the fore.
Nearly 45,000 Americans took their own lives in 2016 and according to the CDC two-thirds of gun-related deaths in the US are suicides, the BBC reports.
The CDC study found, too, that suicide increased among all sexes, ages, races and ethnic groups.
Dr. Deborah Stone, the CDC’s lead researcher, told the BBC that while there is no single factor that leads to suicide, relationship issues and financial troubles tend to be top contributory factors.
Dr. Stone noted that historically some western states have the highest rates of suicide, which could be related to the fact that they tend to be more rural.
Rural states, she explained, are still recovering from economic downturns and residents tend to be more isolated, without access to proper care.
In addition, Dr. Stone said these states have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.
Professor Julie Cerel, president of the American Association of Suicidology, expressed the view that having better reporting standards could account for some of the increase, but also pointed to a lack of adequate funding for mental health research and preventative care.