Preliminary data from the US government that has been released recently has shown that the rate of suicide in the US has reduced by 6 percent last year during the COVID19 pandemic. Experts have said that it is the highest reduction in the rate of suicide that has been seen in the last four decades. Health officials have said that death certificates are still being submitted; therefore, the number of suicide might increase in the future. However, officials believe that there will be a significant decline in the rate of suicides in the country irrespective of concerns that the fourth wave of the pandemic might result in more suicides. Experts have said that it is unclear why the number of suicide deaths has reduced but it might be due to the factor that has been seen in the early phases of wars and national disasters. Dr. Christine Moutier, who is the chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has said that there is a heroism phase during all kinds of calamities, where people bond together, and exchange lots of motivational messages saying that they are together in the crisis. During the COVID19 pandemic as well, it has been seen in the early stage of the pandemic. She has said that a rise in the availability of telehealth services and other efforts to reduce suicide deaths in the country might as well have contributed to this significant decline.
The nationwide rate of suicide has shot up for the first time in 1941 in the US. It has kept reducing for some time and later, the rate of suicide in the US has started rising from the early 2000s until 2018. Health experts have said that the decline in the rate of suicide might be due to the increased availability of mental health screenings and other suicide preventive efforts. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that the number of suicide has decreased last year to 45000. It has been the lowest number of suicidal deaths that has been seen since 2015. Earlier, many health experts have been concerned that the number of suicide will rise during the COVID19 pandemic. The pandemic has shut down many businesses in the US last year during nationwide lockdown. Due to the pandemic, many people have been asked to stay at home and many of them have been living alone. Many surveys have revealed that many people in the US have reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many people have been indulged in drug and alcohol use as well. Due to this deadly mix, the purchase of firearms as well has increased by 85 percent in the country in March 2020.
The lead author of the report that has been done by the experts from the CDC, Farida Ahmad has said that despite the deadly effects of nationwide lockdown, the number of suicide has declined drastically in spring last year. Experts have said that suicide has been the 10th leading cause of death in the US. However, the CDC report has shown that it has dropped to 11th position in 2020. It might be due to the arrival of the COVID19 pandemic that has become the third leading cause of death in the country last year. The pandemic has claimed the lives of nearly 345000 people in the US. However, the reduction in the rate of suicide has contributed to this rank fall, said the experts. The CDC has not mentioned the breakdown of suicides by state, age, race, or ethnicity in the report. Dr. Christine Moutier has said that although, on one hand, the overall number of suicide has reduced last year; suicides by youth and young adults might not have reduced. She believes that the trend will continue from now onwards. Health experts are still concerned about the delayed effect on the mental wellbeing of the people after the initial threat of the pandemic is over and they sink into the grief of people whom they have lost. The findings of the study have been released in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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