Suicide rates have been rising significantly in nearly every state; in both men and women; and across all age and ethnic groups, according to an alarming new CDC report released the same week that both fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain reportedly took their own lives.
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that every state, except Nevada, has seen increases in deaths by suicide between 1999 and 2016, the past year for which data are available. That continues a trend that began after 2010 when the number of suicides was 606.
The states with the greatest increase in suicides were North Dakota (57.6 percent), Vermont (48.6), New Hampshire (48.3) and Kansas (45).
The rise in substance use has been a factor, Tilley said. She told reporters, "We did see increases in younger and older people. We have to change culture around mental health, giving help and support", said Allen.
Suicide is "a tragedy for families and communities across the country", Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, said in a statement.
Allen, who has been at the department since 1998, said the state had the highest suicide rate in the nation when she started her work.
"Any type of graphic reporting about suicide, even things that are spread on social media, can really influence people who are now struggling with thoughts about ending their life", Jennifer Sikora told KDKA's Jon Delano on Friday.
"Comprehensive statewide suicide prevention activities are needed to address the full range of factors contributing to suicide", the report said.
"The reason most suicide decedents don't have a known mental disorder is that they were never diagnosed, not that they didn't have one", said Dr. David Brent, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburg.
There are financial and structural impediments to seeking help, but there are also cultural barriers. Firearms were revealed to be the most common method of suicide by those with and without a known mental illness. In Ohio, suicides were up 36 percent. "If you're really concerned about somebody being suicidal, I don't believe a hotline is enough".
"American suicide is predominantly a firearm issue".
Ohio's suicide rate rose 31-37 percent since the turn of the century. But in some states, the increases are staggering.
There is a national campaign urging people to #Bethe1to help save a life by asking and listening whenever they notice warning signs in someone they know. Experts in the field have speculated the reported rate of 1 in every 400 physicians committing suicide is an underestimate, pointing to differing death classifications in known cases. Suicide, Alzheimer's disease and drug overdoses are three leading causes of deaths with growing prevalence. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK); it's free, and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Nevada is the only state that didn't show an increase, but its rate was consistently high throughout the study period, the researchers noted. Those uncomfortable speaking on the phone can also opt to text the Crisis Text Line by texting the word NAMI to 741-741. She has started a foundation in memory of her father called Jerry's Walk and she now serves as president of the board at the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.