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Concerns Registered Over Increasing Suicide Rates

A University of Iowa researcher says he’s troubled by a new federal report which finds the nation’s suicide rate has reached its highest level since 1941, with nearly 50,000 people taking their own lives last year. Professor Jonathan Platt, a UI social epidemiologist, studies change in the population patterns of mental illness and suicide. Platt says certain findings in the CDC report are especially worrying.

The federal report shows suicide deaths are rising among older adults, especially those over 70, and Platt offers some insights into why that demographic may be more at risk.

While suicide rates had been sharply rising in young people in recent years, this latest report indicates those numbers are starting to level off, which Platt says would be encouraging news. Experts are studying the recent rise in youth suicide rates, and Platt says many theories point to a single culprit.

Free, confidential, round-the-clock help is available through the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a resource Platt says holds promise for helping to reduce the numbers. A report released earlier this year from Trust for America’s Health shows 549 Iowans died by suicide in 2021, which is a drop of 3% from the year before.


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