Hours after a medical examiner ruled Kate Spade's death a suicide by hanging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a harrowing study revealing suicide rates are on the rise in almost every state.
Suicide prevention largely focuses on addressing mental health treatment, the CDC found, suggesting that a wider variety of preventive measures could be taken. It was a shock to her fans and renewed discussions about mental health awareness.
This is part of its larger call on entire communities - beginning at the family level and expanding all the way up to society as a whole - to come together to watch out for suicidal behavior and make help more accessible.
In addition to the skyrocketing number of suicides in middle-aged adults, deaths by suicide are also on the rise in teens, with suicide now the second leading cause of death for all United States teens and young adults from ages 10 to 35. It's up everywhere. And we know that the rates are actually higher than what's reported. "Essentially every age group other than those over 75".
The new report also found that, among USA states and the District of Columbia, suicide rates varied fourfold in 2014-2016, from about 7 per 100,000 residents per year in Washington, D.C., to 29 per 100,000 residents per year in Montana.
Researchers and advocacy groups who work to prevent suicide say the report shows that much more needs to be done to tackle this growing problem.
Increasingly, suicide is being viewed not only as a mental health problem but a public health one.
However, he said, better records are being kept on suicide statistics.
Overall, the rate rose to 15.4 per 100,000 in 2014-2016 from 12.3 per 100,000 in 1999-2001. I think it captures a lot of trends that we've been becoming more and more aware of over recent years", says psychologist Michael Anestis at the University of Southern Mississippi, who researches suicide and is the author of Guns and Suicide: "An American Epidemic. An increase of greater than 30 percent in suicides was observed in 25 states. In half of the states, suicide among people age 10 and older increased more than 30 percent. A 2017 study in the journal Social Science and Medicine showed evidence that a rise in the foreclosure rate during that concussive downturn was associated with an overall, though marginal, increase in suicide rates.
Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide didn't have a known diagnosed mental health condition, despite previous studies showing 90% of individuals who died by suicide did.
Suicide is "a tragedy for families and communities across the country", said CDC principal deputy director Anne Schuchat.
Firearms were found to be the most common method of suicide, again used by those both with and without mental health issues.
The CDC report recommends increased cooperation and communication between government and the private sector.
KTVU spoke with Courtney Brown from San Francisco Suicide Prevention Center to ask her more about the CDC study.
Health officials have attributed Massachusetts' low suicide rate to several factors: having few rural areas, so emergency and other medical services are nearby; a strong behavioral health system; good access to health care services with near-universal insurance coverage; a low rate of gun ownership; and a decade of suicide prevention activities.