In this article, we are going to discuss the 15 most suicidal states in America. You can skip our detailed analysis of global suicide statistics, suicide rates in the U.S., financial cost of suicide and biotech companies working to treat mental heath issues and go directly to 5 Most Suicidal States in America.
Every year, over 703,000 people take their own lives, according to figures from the World Health Organization. Suicide has been reported to be the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, with ingestion of pesticides, hanging and firearms being the most common methods. Around 77% of global suicides occur in low- and middle- income countries, with Lesotho on top of the list with a staggering suicide mortality rate of 72.4.
The only Western nation with an exceptionally high suicide rate is Belgium, which ranks 11th in the world, with a suicide mortality rate of 18.3. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that Belgium has some of the most liberal laws on doctor-assisted suicide in the world.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates in the U.S. increased approximately 36% from 2000-2021, with suicide being the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2021. With a national suicide mortality rate of 14.04, a total of 48,183 American died by suicide during the year, equaling to about one death every 11 minutes. The most common method of suicide was firearms, accounting for 54.64% of all suicide deaths in the country. One important factor that some of the most suicidal states in America have in common is less-restrictive gun laws.
Suicides have also had a heavy financial toll on the American society. According to CDC, in 2020, suicide and non-fatal self harm cost the nation over $500 billion in medical costs, work loss costs, value of statistical life and quality of life costs, with the national per capita cost of self-injury mortality at $3,413.
Mental health issues are the major cause for suicides worldwide. A report by the International Association for Suicide Prevention has revealed that an individual suffering from depression is 20 times more likely to die by suicide than someone without the disorder. According to an estimate by the National Institute of Mental Health, more than one in five adults in the U.S. live with mental illness, 57.8 million in 2021. Conditions can range from mild states, like depression and anxiety, to more severe conditions like dementia, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
A biotech company working to treat mental health conditions is Atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ:ATAI). With its extensive research and innovative methods of treatment, such as the use of Psilocybin and Ketamine, Atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ:ATAI) is trying to flip the narrative that such drugs are only meant for hippies and Woodstock. After seeing a close friend suffer from mental health issues and then self-treating successfully with psychedelics, Florian Brand, the founder of Atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ:ATAI), realized that patients across the world were under-served.
Sage Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAGE) is another biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for mental health disorders. Sage Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAGE) is working to treat major depressive disorders, including postpartum depression. In collaboration with Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB), the innovative Sage Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAGE) is working on developing a drug known as Zuranolone. If approved, the drug would be the first of its kind to treat PPD.
Over the years, several major companies have realized the importance of mental health benefits and have taken initiatives aimed at employee well-being. Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) uses employee stories to strengthen its community and make workers feel like they aren’t alone in their mental health struggles. Through their ‘This is Me’ campaign, disclosure rates for mental health issues at Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) have improved. Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) is also providing mental health services to its customers through its mobile app.
Suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play to save lives and help create healthy communities, both mentally and physically. To help states design their strategies for suicide prevention, CDC has developed the Suicide Prevention Resource for Action, which provides information on the best available evidence for suicide prevention.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, please call or text 988.
That said, here is a list of the 15 Most Suicidal States in America.
For this article, we have referred to reliable data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC. While discussing the most suicidal states in America, it is important to keep in mind that Suicide Mortality Rate refers to the number of deaths by suicide per 100,000 total population. So even if some states have a high number of suicides in a year, they can still have a lower suicide mortality rate because of their high population. For example, the state of Texas had the highest number of deaths by suicide in 2021, a total of 4,193, but it had a relatively lower suicide mortality rate because of its high population of 29.53 million in 2021.
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 19.5
According to Oregon Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds in Oregon. Suicide rates in the state have been higher than U.S rates over the past 10 years and rates of youth suicide have been rising since 2011. The suicide mortality rate in Oregon increased by 6.5% from 2020-2021, when it was 18.3, which is a cause for alarm in the Beaver State. A total number of 889 people died by suicide in Oregon in 2021.
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 20.1
Utah made a progress of 3.3% in decreasing its suicide mortality rate from 2020, when it stood at 20.8. The total number of deaths by suicide in Utah in 2021 amounted to 643. The University of Utah has revealed that suicide is the leading cause of death among one of Utah’s youngest groups, teens aged 15-19. An unrelenting stigma and limited access to mental health care has been linked to the high suicide rate in the state, where some victims were as young as nine. In 1999, 12 Utah teens committed suicide and by 2019, the number had unfortunately more than tripled to 42.
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 20.3
Vermont has become the first state in the country to change its medically assisted suicide law to allow terminally ill people from out of state to take advantage of it and end their lives (euthanasia). Vermont is one of the 10 states to allow medically assisted suicide. The state has seen a startling rise of 12.1% in its suicide mortality rate since the previous year, when it was 18.2. To mitigate this alarming situation, Vermont has also recently launched a suicide awareness project, called Facing Suicide. Through data and firsthand accounts, the campaign aims to clear up misconceptions about suicide. A total of 142 people died by suicide in the Green Mountain State in 2021.
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 20.5
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for people aged 10-44 and eighth leading cause overall in the state. According to federal guidelines, 70.18% of communities did not have enough mental health providers to serve residents in 2021 and the leading method of suicide was firearms. Idaho News has reported that the fall of 2021 was especially horrifying for the state, when within the first two and a half months of the school year, there were 6 suicide losses in the Nampa School District. However, the state seems to be making significant progress because the suicide mortality rate in Idaho has decreased by over 10.7% since 2020, when it was the fifth most suicidal state in America.
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 20.6
A total of 618 people died by suicide in Arkansas in 2021, 35 more than the previous year and the state saw an increase of 8.4% in its suicide mortality rate since 2021. Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in Arkansas and the second leading cause for people aged 24-34. 69.77% of communities did not have enough mental health providers to serve residents in 2021, according to federal guidelines. The impact of suicide in Arkansas is felt even harder in rural areas, where resources for prevention, identification and treatment are scarce. A strategy to address this issue could be treatment via telehealth.
10. West Virginia
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 20.6
West Virginia was the tenth most suicidal state in America also in the year 2020, but with a 6.2% lower suicide mortality rate of 19.4. According to the University of West Virginia, at the core of the state’s economy, coal jobs and other jobs in the extraction and construction industries are extremely hazardous. People working in such industries are more prone to injuries and hence, are also more vulnerable to drug abuse. West Virginia exhibited the largest per capita cost of suicide in the country, at $6,534 per person.
9. North Dakota
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 20.8
North Dakota saw an increase of 14.3% in its death rate since the previous year, when 135 people lost their lives to self-harm, compared to 156 in 2021. To help reverse this disturbing trend, lawmakers in the state are eyeing a 30-cent tax on all phone lines and landlines to fund a crisis hotline.
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 21.5
Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 12-19 in Nevada, where 64.6% of the communities do not have access to public mental health providers. A total of 695 people died by suicide in Nevada in 2021 and military veterans comprised an estimated 20% of Nevadan suicides.
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 22.1
Oklahoma saw an increase of 0.9% in its suicide mortality rate since 2020, when it was at 21.9. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 in the state, where a total 977 people died by suicide in 2021. Suicides among Black Oklahomans doubled from 2016-2020.
Suicide Mortality Rate in 2021: 22.8
According to the Colorado Health Institute, many people who have died by suicide in Colorado were reported to have a current depressive mood or were diagnosed with a mental health problem like anxiety, depression or schizophrenia etc. However, less than a third were identified as currently receiving mental health care. Also, people of color in Colorado who committed suicide were less likely to have mental health treatment, compared to white Coloradans. A total of 1,384 people died by suicide in Colorado in 2021.
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Disclosure: None. 15 Most Suicidal States in America is originally published on Insider Monkey.