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Suicide rate hits modern-day high

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

One American commits suicide every 11 minutes, according to a new study by the American Association of Suicidology.

The rate is the highest in the United States since the Great Depression, with 1.7 percent of all deaths in the country being attributed to suicide.

The study compiled all suicides in the U.S. in 2017 and analyzed the numbers by state, age group, gender, region, and method of suicide. Last year there were 47,173 suicides in America, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the country, just a few thousand behind kidney disease.

For people 15 to 24 years old, a demographic with growing suicide rates, suicide is now the second leading cause of death.

"It is a public health crisis. About 75 percent of us now will have known somebody who’s died by suicide," Ellen Eggert, a local suicide prevention expert at the Kern County Crisis Hotline, said.

She said the rise is linked to technology replacing human interaction.

“Many people don’t know how their loved ones are, because they’re not connected because they don’t see you enough to know,” Eggert said.

The report estimates there were more than a million suicide attempts in the U.S. in 2017 and that 1,370,640 years of human life could've been saved had those suicides been prevented.

"Every day I think we erase some stigma with suicide and it's one step forward, two steps back," Eggert said.

According to the study, more people committed suicide in California than any other state – 4,312. That concerns Eggert, because half of suicides are by firearm and California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.

For anyone who needs help, the Crisis Hotline is 1-800-991-5272.


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