Firearm suicides increased greatly last year, reaching “unprecedented” heights, CBS News reports. The new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that firearms account for about half of overall suicide deaths. This means that of the nearly 50,000 overall suicide deaths in 2022, about 27,000 of them were gun-related. "The annual U.S. firearm suicide rate increased approximately 11% from 7.3 per 100,000 during 2019 to 8.1 during 2022, the highest documented level since at least 1968," the report said.
While firearm suicide rates increased in all racial and ethnic groups during this period, the magnitude of the increase differed among groups. There was a greater increase in the rate for the American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Those disparities might reflect systematic inequities, such as mental health care access or unemployment, all of which may have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic was also cited as a potential cause of overall increases, as it "exacerbated known risk factors" like social isolation, relationship stressors and substance use. The firearm suicide data comes after the CDC released numbers on overall suicide deaths in the U.S. for last year showing that such deaths reached a record high in 2022 but decreased among children and young adults.