June 13, 2018

Suicide rates up sharply in Massachusetts, nationally

The suicide of TV chef Anthony Bourdain came the same day as the CDC's report showing sharply rising suicide rates in Massachusetts and nationally.

Suicide rates in Massachusetts rose by one-third from 1999 to 2016, a significant jump that was among the highest in the country, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The national increase was 25 percent, with the June 8 CDC report coming the same week as the notable suicides of designer Kate Spade and TV chef Anthony Bourdain.

Massachusetts had a higher than average increase, but its suicide rate still remains below the national average.

In the most recent three-year period, the suicide rate in Massachusetts was 10 per 100,000 people, the third lowest nationally. Nation wide, the average was 15 per 100,000.

With a 35-percent increase, Massachusetts was among the states that saw the sharpest jump in suicides. North Dakota saw the largest jump at 58 percent, while New Hampshire had a 48-percent increase.

Nearly 45,000 Americans took their lives in 2016, a rise that was consistent among both all sexes and racial and ethnic groups, according to the CDC.

The most common factors leading to a suicide are relationship problems, which are present in 42 percent of cases, and a crisis in the past or upcoming two weeks, which was a factor in 29 percent of cases, according to a CDC survey included in the report.

Substance abuse was a factor in another 28 percent of cases, the CDC said.

The report also suggested that warning signs may not have been present in many suicide cases. Of those who have died of suicide, 54 percent were not known to have had a mental health condition.


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