Suicides in Mississippi, and rest of country, on the rise, new study shows

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, August 29, 2019

More than 47,000 Americans took their own lives in 2017, a recently released study by SeniorLiving.com showed.

Suicide claims more lives in the United States than car accidents, breast cancer and murder and the rate is growing across the country — and in Mississippi.

The U.S. has one of the highest suicide rates among wealthy countries, and the rate of Americans taking their own lives has risen almost every year since 2005.

Suicide has not been this prevalent in the U.S. since World War II.

Today, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and suicide rates have been on the rise in nearly every state since the turn of the 21st century.

Mississippi’s suicide rate has increased by 36.7% since 1999, which marks the 32nd largest increase of any state over this time.

America has the 5th highest suicide rate of wealthy countries (14 per 100,000). Russia ranks No. 1 (26.5) following by South Korea (20.2), India (16.5) and Japan (14.3).

Firearms were the most used method for both men (56%) and women (31.2%) followed by suffocation/hanging and drug poisoning.

Suicide rates were higher for people not married and those living in places with lower population density.

Understanding why suicide is becoming more common in such a prosperous nation is as difficult as understanding why a loved one would choose to end their own life. To be sure, there’s no single cause that can explain why the U.S. is facing a suicide crisis, though our research indicates that not being married and living in a sparsely populated area could be factors.

The wounds of suicide run deep, both on society and on the families that are forever changed by a fateful decision. Bucking this trend means developing a better understanding of the statistics behind suicide. Where is suicide most common? Who is the most likely to take their own life? How do suicide rates across the country correlate with (or diverge from) other societal trends?

Suicide claimed 47,173 lives in 2017, making it the No. 10 leading cause of death in the U.S. Suicide occurs at an age-adjusted rate of about 14 per 100,000 people, which is the highest rate recorded in the U.S. since 1942.

Over just the past 10 years, the U.S. suicide rate has climbed by more than 20%. Among wealthy nations, such as the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, the U.S. suicide rate is one of the highest.