CDC: Suicides dramatically increase

Posted at 2:29 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 16:29:31-04

The call takers inside Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners are always busy.

They receive up to 500 calls per day, and that number is expected to keep climbing.

Bev Marquez is the CEO of RMCP and she says she has seen a marked increase in callers contemplating suicide.

“It’s quite concerning and quite scary,” Marquez said.

The 24-hour staff at RMCP answer calls from everyone in Colorado who dials the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Their calls have been increasing because the Centers for Disease Control says the number of suicides nationwide is increasing.

A new CDC report out Friday shows a 24 percent increase in suicides across the country between 1999 and 2014.

The increase is across all demographics, according to the data.

The largest increases are among girls 10-14, which is up 200 percent. It is still a small fraction of the total - from 0.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 1.5 per 100,000 in 2014.

Men ages 45-64 saw the largest increase among males, up 43 percent over 15 years.

The largest demographic committing suicide among men are ages 75 and over. That rate decreased over the 15 year period, but still remains at the top at 42.4 per 100,000 in 1999 and 38.8 per 100,000 in 2014.

Sarah Brummett is the coordinator for the Colorado Suicide Prevention Commission.

“There isn't one answer,” she said as to why numbers might be increasing. “It's very complex and there's a variety of factors influencing it."

The CDC reports it noticed a steeper increase in suicide rates after 2006. Brummett says in Colorado they noticed it especially among men beginning in 2009.

“Certainly 2009 was when we started to feel the economic downturn here,” she said. “So that could have something to do with it.”

Marquez says talking about suicide has become more common, which she says helps raise awareness, but it also makes people more likely to consider suicide as an option.

“What will make the difference,” Marquez said. “I believe is education. The awareness that it's ok to ask for help and knowing where to ask for help."

The CDC now considers suicide the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., killing twice as many people as Parkinson’s disease.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide and needs to talk to someone, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255.)

The line is answered 24 hours a day.