(The Hill) — Confirmed suicides across the U.S. peaked in 2018 with more than 48,000 deaths, but declined in 2019 and 2020, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
From 2019 to 2020, the number of suicides in the U.S. fell 3 percent, with 47,511 confirmed suicides in 2019 and 45,979 in 2020, the CDC reported last week.
“The second consecutive year of declining suicide rates in the United States is encouraging,” researchers wrote. “Suicide is preventable. A comprehensive approach to suicide prevention is urgently needed in all states to continue to build on the progress that began in 2019.”
The data was released amid a pandemic thought to have exacerbated mental illness, especially among the younger Generation Z age group.
While the data shows suicide rates decline in the past two years, among persons aged 10 to 64, suicide is still among the 10 leading causes of death, according to the CDC, and many people still struggle with suicidal thoughts.
“During 2020, a total of 12.2 million U.S. adults reported serious thoughts of suicide and 1.2 million attempted suicide,” the study reads.
Preliminary data detailing the drop in suicides was released back in November.
Other statistics show worrying trends, including an increase in confirmed suicides for Hispanic males and multiracial females from 2019 to 2020.
In 2020, males accounted for 79 percent of all suicides, while suicide rates were highest among non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Natives, with non-Hispanic whites second highest.
Firearms accounted for 53 percent of all suicides in 2020, while rural counties have higher suicide rates.
From 1999 to 2020, nearly 840,000 people have committed suicide, with the overall suicide rate about 30 percent higher in 2020 compared to 2000, the CDC says.