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CDC report reveals suicide rates have increased in older Americans

Suicide rates went down for both younger men and women, but rose for older age groups. There were nearly four times as many suicides for men as women.
CDC report reveals suicide rates have increased in older Americans
Posted at 3:09 PM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 17:10:20-05

America's suicide rate increased by 1% from 2021 to 2022 — to about 14 deaths for every 100,000 people. It's the highest rate since these deaths have been tracked. 

Chantal Bevard Rivera lost her father to suicide earlier this year.

"It left my family feeling very empty," she said. 

It's a pain more families are facing. 

A new report from the CDC's Center for Health Statistics estimates 49,449 people died by suicide in 2022, compared to 48,183 people who died in 2021. More than half of suicides involve firearms.

Dr. Ardeshir Hashmi is the enterprise director of the Center for Geriatric Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. 

"There's been a renewed emphasis here with every single visit, definitely every new visit and follow-up visit as well. We always ask about that. You know, are there weapons at home? Are they safe and secure, and what sort of experiences people have had," said Dr. Hashmi. 

SEE MORE: Life expectancy for men now 6 years shorter than for women

Suicide rates went down for both younger men and women, but rose for older age groups. There were nearly four times as many suicides for men as women.

"It's hiding in plain sight. We know who these folks are. In my world, the older men, mostly Caucasian — many of them veterans, unfortunately," he said. 

A second report provided insight into an increase in life expectancy, up to 77.5 from 76.4 years — thanks mainly to fewer COVID deaths. 

It's contextual, doctors say.

"When we change the context and we compare this to other developed countries like the U.S., like ours, we're actually not so great. We are actually below many countries, many of the developed countries," he said. 

"What keeps dragging us down is suicide rates, homicide rates, unintentional injuries, drug overdose ages," said Dr. Jaya Kumar, chief medical officer at Swedish Medical Center. 

Last year the national 988 suicide hotline launched. If you need to talk to someone, call the suicide and crisis lifeline by dialing 988 or text "home" to the crisis text line at 741741. 


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