CDC: Suicide Leading Cause of Violent Deaths in 48 States and D.C. in 2021

58.2 percent of violent deaths were suicides, which occurred most often in males, adults 85 years and older, and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Natives
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WEDNESDAY, July 10, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- There were 70,688 violent deaths that occurred in 48 states and the District of Columbia in 2021, more than half of which were suicides, according to research published in the July 11 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Brenda L. Nguyen, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues collected data regarding violent deaths that occurred in 2021 from death certificates, coroner and medical examiner records, and law enforcement reports.

Information was obtained on 68,866 fatal incidents involving 70,688 deaths that occurred in 48 states and the District of Columbia in 2021. The researchers found that of the 70,688 deaths, most were suicides (58.2 percent), followed by homicides, deaths of undetermined intent that might be due to violence, legal intervention deaths, and unintentional firearm injury deaths (31.5, 8.2, 1.3, and <1.0 percent, respectively). The suicide rate was higher for males than females and was highest among adults aged 85 years and older and among non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons. The most common method of injury for suicide was firearm among both males and females. Suicide was most often preceded by a mental health, intimate partner, or physical health problem or by a recent or impending crisis during the previous or upcoming two weeks among all suicide victims when circumstances were known. The homicide rate was higher for males than females, and was highest among those aged 20 to 24 years and for non-Hispanic Black or African American males.

"Monitoring the prevalence of violence-related fatal injuries, defining priorities, and informing prevention activities are essential parts of public health surveillance," the authors write.

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