Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise.
New federal data shows suicide rates are up by 30 percent across the nation. During the study period, rate increases ranged from just under 6 percent in DE to over 57 percent in North Dakota.
The analysis found that slightly more than half the people who had died by suicide did not have any known mental-health condition. They found that relationship problems or loss (45.1% versus 39.6%), life stressors (50.5% versus 47.2%), and recent or impeding crises (32.9% versus 26%) were significantly more common among those without known mental health conditions than those with.
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. "There are many different circumstances and factors that contribute to suicide".
The report said people without known mental health problems were more likely to die by firearms than those with known mental health problems. "We don't think we can just leave this to the mental health system to manage".
Thomas Delaney, a faculty member at the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine who studies suicide, said Thursday that several aspects of Vermont life have been linked to higher rates of suicide.
"Those are the times to really support each other", Schuchat said.
John Madigan, vice president of public policy for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said the rising suicide rate is a complex phenomenon and that it is hard to pinpoint a reason despite all of the resources available.
Suicide has become a more prevalent topic among the United States healthcare population in recent years, as well.
The study released Thursday looked at trends in suicide rates from 1999 to 2016 and data from the National Violent Death Reporting System that includes data from 27 states. The increases were particularly stark in the states in the intermountain West, including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
Only Nevada saw a decline, and that was just one percent.
More than half of those who died by suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental health condition, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.
The Minnesota Health Department has increased efforts to identify at-risk communities to help reduce suicides.
The CDC found that men accounted for three-quarters of all suicides, and women one-quarter. Everyone can help by learning the warning signs for suicide and how to respond. It's important to do not forget to remove access to firearms, medications, or any other potential tools they might use to harm themsevles.