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Suicides decline in 2019, first time in two decades

Suicides decline in 2019, first time in two decades
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The national rate of suicide fell for the first time in two decades in 2019, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC's final report on mortality in the U.S. in 2019 showed that suicide deaths dropped by 2.1 percent in 2019 compared with 2018. Suicides were still the 10th leading cause of death in the nation.

There were 47,511 suicide deaths in 2019, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) noted, representing 833 fewer suicide deaths than the 48,344 in 2018.

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The suicide rate had been increasing since 1999, according to the foundation.

AFSP Chief Medical Officer Christine Moutier said in a statement that the foundation was “heartened and encouraged” to see the suicide rate drop.

Moutier said it’s unclear what exactly contributed to the decline from 2018 to 2019 but added that multiple actions — such as legislation prioritizing suicide prevention and an openness to discussing mental health — likely had an impact.

The report comes after the CDC reported that the U.S. will have at least 3.2 million deaths in 2020, making it the deadliest year in history, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Robert Anderson, who oversees CDC death statistics, told The Associated Press that preliminary data showed that suicide deaths did not continue to fall this year.