Research shows suicides are up in almost every state across the country. In 2016, nearly 45,000 people took their lives. More than half did not have a known mental health diagnosis.
“We found that many common life stressors were present in the period preceding the suicide, in relationship problems, financial and job issues, physical health concerns,” said Dr. Anne Shuchat, deputy director with the Centers for Disease Control.
Locally, suicide rates in Pennsylvania are up 34.3 percent, in New Jersey up 19.2 percent and in Delaware, there’s been almost a 6 percent increase.
Signs and symptoms to look for include isolation, agitation, anger, alcohol or drug use and changes in sleep patterns.
Experts say it’s important to have a conversation if you’re concerned about someone.
“Be quite direct and say, ‘I’m concerned about you, here’s what I’ve noticed,’ and if they’re expressing feelings of hopelessness, I would encourage anyone to ask the question: ‘When it gets that way for you, do you ever think of ending your life?’ And just like that, that will open up a space where they can talk about what’s really going on,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The National Suicide Prevention hotline is 1-800-273-TALK or text “TALK” to 741741.
The biggest increase in suicides was in North Dakota, where the rate jumped more than 57 percent.
The CDC says there were a higher number of suicides in areas hard hit by the economic downturn, especially in rural areas in western states.