Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and it is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise. (1) While mental health conditions elevate the risk for suicide, it is rarely caused by any single factor. Suicide is a complex and growing problem. The economic and human cost of suicide to individuals, families, and communities makes it a public health issue.
According to a report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates rose in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016. Only Nevada saw a 1 percent decline. Half of all states saw suicides increase by more than 30 percent since 1999.
There are risk factors that can help us identify people in need of extra support, and sometimes there are warning signs. But diagnosing suicide risk isn’t as simple as performing a well-check on someone. The red flags, if they are there at all, can be very subtle.