In the last 20 years, suicide has become a public health problem in the United States, statistics show that suicide is among the first 10 causes of death in men and women, and the young groups (under 24) are the most affected.
Suicide does not discriminate between economic or social position, in recent years the suicide of celebrities such as Avicii (musician), Alexander McQueen (fashion designer), Robin Williams (Actor), Anthony Bourdain (chef), has forced the authorities and society to create awareness campaigns on this complex problem that causes up to 800,000 deaths annually.
The overall suicide rate has risen 30% in the US, according to CDC data, and firearms remain the common factor in more than 50% of suicide cases. The western and midwestern states of the country have the most suicide cases. (1)
Increase in Suicides in the United States: Why is this happening?
There is no definitive cause that leads directly to suicide; However, economic and relationship problems are usually the main causes that contribute to suicide in the country.
The high suicide rates in western states may be linked to the rural character of these places, in addition, many people (mostly young people) may consider these places as monotonous places with few opportunities, which may increase feelings of hopelessness.
Opioids, Guns, and Suicide: Why They Became such a Serious Problem for America
One of the worst health crises in the history of the United States has been the abuse of opioids, this added to the low funding for mental health and preventive plans, with an exponential increase in the carrying of weapons created a dangerous cocktail for public health, these factors have been fundamental in more than 50% of the suicides committed annually in the country.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic was added to all this, which brought terrible consequences to the economy and mental health worldwide, so far, the final suicide figures for the past year are not known but the preliminary ones suggest a slight reduction in the general suicide rate in the country, however, the figures distributed by age, sex and race are not known, therefore, they are not conclusive results yet. (2)
How You Can Help Reduce Suicide in America
Suicide is a sad and unfortunate event for families and friends, it is terrible for society because it is the maximum expression of a fundamental problem: the difficulty to recognize and empathize with the problems of others.
1. Be responsible with guns
To reduce suicides, it is necessary to address the main risk factors, for example, the availability of guns, especially for young people. Guns are one of the most frequent forms of suicide, and sadly they are quick and effective to achieve the goal.
2. Stop discrimination
There are small groups in society that discriminate based on race, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation, which favors the creation of feelings of resentment and sadness, especially in young people.
It is time to stop these expressions of discrimination, and start including all people regardless of religion, race, or nationality.
3. Get involved in your community
Suicide must stop being a taboo, it is necessary to make it visible and accept the impact it has on families and society. Supporting affected families and promoting community education on the subject and its prevention alternatives can represent a visible change in the country's suicide rates.