Suicides reached record levels last year with 50,000 Americans taking their own life and experts say the pandemic, social media and access to guns is to blame

The number of suicides in America rose to record highs last year, reaching nearly 50,000.

Newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that 1,266 more people committed suicide in 2022, compared to 2021 – an increase of three percent.

And since 2014, the number of suicides has fallen by 16 percent.

Additionally, the agency said the latest, most recent count will likely be higher as information on deaths is reviewed.

The data, drawn from death certificates, suggests that suicides are now more common in the US than at any time since World War II.

Newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows a four percent increase in suicides since 2019. The increase since the turn of the century is attributed to the deteriorating economy and rising unemployment rates.

The new data shows that suicides have also increased between 2020 and 2021, with an increase of more than 1,000.

Suicide is now the eleventh leading cause of death in the US.

But among 10-34 year olds, suicide is the second leading cause of death, after unintentional injuries such as accidental overdoses.

Experts say one reason for the recent year-on-year increases is indicative of the country’s plummeting mental health following the pandemic, which left many grieving, isolated and anxious.

They said the rise of social media has also played a role, leading to comparisons that are damaging to mental health and make people feel like they are not good enough.

Other factors that create a breeding ground for mental illness include the rising cost of living and stagnant salaries.

a 2020 study found that people who experience financial stress are twenty times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not.

A persistent shortage of healthcare workers probably also plays a role.

Roughly half of Americans live in an area without a mental health professional, federal data shows, and 8,500 more are needed to close the gap.

Experts have also pointed to the increasing supply of addictive opioid drugs, such as fentanyl and heroin.

Addictions can cause and worsen mental health problems,

A 2020 study found that a total of nearly 92,000 people died from drug overdoses in the US that year, with around 8,000 recorded as intentional.

Easy access to guns has also contributed to an astonishing rise.

The US has long been under fire for the growing number of gun deaths, which experts say could be contributing to the suicide rate.

A 2022 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the US had a record 45,222 gun deaths in 2020 and gun-related suicides increased by one percent.

The most available data shows that in 2021, more than half (54 percent) of gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides.

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

The erosion of family values ​​has also contributed. A 2022 study reiterated that low parental concern is linked to a higher rate of suicide attempts among youth with mental health problems.

The data also revealed some interesting trends regarding the demographics of those most vulnerable to suicide.

Men aged 75 and over had the highest suicide rate last year, at almost 44 per 100,000 people – double the rate for those aged 15 to 24.

Although women are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, men are four times more likely to commit suicide.

American Indians and Alaska Natives are also at nearly double the rates for other Americans.

The suicide rate among children aged 10 to 14 and 15 to 24 fell by 18 percent and nine percent last year compared to 2021, returning levels to pre-pandemic levels.

However, women aged 25 to 34 were the only group of women whose suicide rates increased significantly in 2022.

The suicide rate fell slightly in 2019 and fell again in 2020, during the first year of the Covid pandemic.

Some experts linked this to a phenomenon that occurs in the early stages of wars and natural disasters, when people unite and support each other.