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Firearm suicides reached "unprecedented" high in 2022, CDC data shows

Firearm suicides reached "unprecedented" high rates last year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers found firearm suicides account for approximately half of overall suicide deaths, they said in a report published Thursday, meaning of the nearly 50,000 overall suicide deaths in 2022, about 27,000 of them were gun-related.

The analysis, using data from from 2019 to 2022, also highlighted an increase in firearm suicides.

"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 authors said.

And while firearm suicide rates increased in all racial and ethnic groups during this period, the magnitude of the increase differed among groups, according to the report.

"For example, whereas non-Hispanic White persons experienced the highest overall rate (11.1 during 2022), this rate represented a 9% increase from 10.2 during 2019. The largest rate increase (66%) occurred among (American Indian or Alaska Native) AI/AN persons, among whom the firearm suicide rate increased from 6.4 during 2019 to 10.6 during 2022," the authors wrote.

The increase in the rate for the American Indian and Alaska Native community 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 authors noted.

The pandemic was also pointed to 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 just a day after the CDC released numbers on overall suicide deaths in the U.S. for last year.

According to that provisional data, suicide deaths reached a record high in 2022 but decreased among children and young adults.

The organization used death records from the National Center for Health Statistics to estimate that the number of suicides in 2022 was 3% higher than in 2021, totaling 49,449 deaths compared to the previous 48,183.

The decreases among younger age groups is a hopeful shift after years of concerning increases

Still, research also shows youth mental health is in crisis more generally, with particularly concerning numbers surrounding teen girls. A CDC survey from earlier this year found around 1 in 3 high school girls in the U.S. have seriously considered attempting suicide and more than half of teen girls, 57%, reported feeling "persistently sad or hopeless."

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here.

For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email

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