A New Yorker takes their own life every 5 hours

US suicide rate on rise: health agency

The issue has moved to the fore of the nation's consciousness, at least momentarily, with the high-profile deaths of chef storyteller Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade in the past week.

"It's complicated, and every suicide death is its own story", said Thomas Delaney, an assistant professor at the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine.

The biggest increase in suicides was in North Dakota, where the rate jumped more than 57 percent. The overall rise nationwide is about 25%. In 2016, almost 45,000 people took their lives. "Social media is contributing to the fact that we're all online too much and not connecting as much as we used to", said Raja. Twenty-five states saw percentage rate increases of more than 30 percent.

Almost all of those states are in the western and Midwestern regions of the US. The rate of increase was 36.2 percent in Iowa.

Reidenberg noted that despite the influx in volume of calls, people should know that if they reach out in a time of need that their calls will not go unanswered. And, these states have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.

"Our mental health systems are just really struggling across the country", Prof Cerel says.

And Prof Cerel raised another related, though often sidelined, public health issue - firearms.

One common factor - mental health issues - may not be as reliable of a measurement as commonly thought. But they're hoping use the latest, most detailed statistics to bolster and refine their anti-suicide efforts.

Media captionHealthcare battle in rural AmericaIs there a link between suicide and mental illness? "We already know we could need more (prevention) resources".

Experts say it's important to have a conversation if you're concerned about someone.

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"Economic conditions or livelihood opportunities in decline could lead people to positions where they're at risk".

It's a topic many people would rather not talk about.

Kate Cohen-Posey, a licensed mental health counselor in Lakeland, agreed people at risk of killing themselves can be influenced by news exposure.

She added, however, that existing data may be under-representing the true extent of mental illness in the US. She said it sometimes takes a while to find the most effective treatment.

"If they have no family members to talk to at the scene, they have no idea if mental health was the case".

The report found that some of the leading causes of suicide included: relationship issues, substance abuse, job struggles, physical health, and past or upcoming moments of crisis. She said the state's advocates have focused on doing suicide-prevention work "across the lifespan".

"We can't take for granted that everyone learns this by some magic formula", Dr Reed says. A consortium of mental health groups created a website, www.reportingonsuicide.com, with guidelines for the media.

Prof Cerel described it as having a "safety plan".

"When you're talking about celebrity so many more people are going to know about that person, and that person is going to touch those peoples' lives".

"Those amusing cat videos can't keep someone alive, but they can calm people down to then use other coping strategies", she says. "All of those things where people can talk openly so they can start getting help".

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