Maryland was among the 49 states that saw an increase in suicide rates from 1999 to 2016, according to a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the state’s rates did not rise as sharply as the national average.
Across the country, suicide rates — the number of suicide deaths per 100,000 people — rose by more than 25 percent from 1999 to 2016. Every state but Nevada saw an increase in suicide rates during that time, the CDC reported.
The rate of suicides in Maryland grew by 8.5 percent, well below the national increase from 1999-2016, according to the CDC.
The report comes as the deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and chef, writer and TV personality Anthony Bourdain this week, both of apparent suicide, have thrust the issue into the national spotlight.
There were about 10 suicides per 100,000 people ages 10 and older in Maryland from 1999-2016, the CDC reported. Suicide rates were higher among males in Maryland, ranging from about 17 to 18 per 100,000 males. About 3 to 4 females per 100,000 died by suicide in Maryland during that period.
In Maryland, the number of suicides rose by more than a third, from 435 in 1999 to 586 in 2016, the most recent year for which data were available, according to the CDC. The number of suicides during that period peaked in 2014, when the state saw 606 suicides, the CDC reported.
In Baltimore, about 53 people die from suicide annually, and 82 percent of those deaths occur among men, according to 2014 data from the Baltimore City Health Department. Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen was not available to comment Friday.
As suicide becomes more of a public health problem, there are a number of organizations that provide free support for people in need.
Here are some of the places that offer help:
» The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), a network of crisis centers, provides free and confidential counseling around the clock for people in distress, including emotional support, resources for callers and their loved ones, and best practices for professionals. The organization also offers support through online chats.
» The Crisis Text Line (741741) provides counseling through texts with volunteers who offer collaborative problem solving.
» The Maryland Crisis Hotline operates 24/7 (1-800-422-0009).
» In Maryland, people having suicidal thoughts can also call 211 to talk with agents who can provide aid.
» The Maryland chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers resources for people in need, including phone numbers for suicide prevention hotlines and links to find mental health professionals.