Suicide Rate Decreases for First Time in 10 Years According to Most Recent CDC Data (Year 2019)

The CDC today released its most recent data related to suicide for the year 2019. The national rate of suicide has been on the rise since 1999. While suicide is still the 10th leading cause of death, according to these data, the suicide rate went down for the first time in two decades.

The rate of suicide in 2019 decreased by 2.1 percent from the previous year. In 2018 there were 48,344 suicide deaths; in 2019 there were 47,511, a decrease of 833 deaths.

Suicide Rate Decreases for First Time in 10 Years

Dr. Christine Moutier

“As the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, we are heartened and encouraged to see the national suicide rate decrease for the first time in 20 years in the United States,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). “We do not yet know about suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic because the United States does not collect suicide data in real time, therefore, claims about increasing suicide rates during COVID-19 are not based in current available data and are unfounded. Emerging data from several countries show no evidence of increased suicide rates during the first few months of the pandemic.

There are many factors that contribute to suicide, and several factors may have contributed to the decrease in rate from 2018 to 2019, Moutier said. “We cannot determine which specific factors may have contributed to the decline but we do know that creating a culture open to talking about mental health and suicide prevention, educating people about what to do when they are in distress, making help available to those who seek it, using treatments that have been developed based on research, supporting those affected by suicide, and passing legislation that make suicide prevention a top national priority are all positive advancements that we’ve seen over the past several years that likely had a collective impact.”

Moutier said AFSP is committed to creating programs, supporting research, engaging partners, and advancing policies that will help contribute to a continued decrease in the suicide rate – especially important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Project 2025, a first-of-its-kind-initiative led by AFSP, aims to positively impact our culture surrounding mental health and suicide prevention and reduce the suicide rate by 20 percent by the year 2025. By mobilizing institutions, associations, and individuals across healthcare, corrections, and the firearms communities, we are promoting evidence-based practices and research to drive policy, increase engagement around addressing mental health and suicide, and save the most lives in the shortest amount of time.

AFSP’s advocacy efforts have also led to the national prioritization of suicide prevention as demonstrated by the passage of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which designated 9-8-8 as the new national number for those in crisis (replacing the existing 1-800-273-8255 number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; as 9-8-8 is not yet universally accessible, individuals should continue to call 1-800-273-8255 until the full effective date of July 2022). Those who are in distress need to be met with resources that will support their mental health including a fully funded, accessible, and well-designed national system of crisis services and health care.


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  • Christine-Moutier: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
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