Friday 7 October 2022 | Kaiser Health News

More people died in gun-related suicides and violence in 2021 than in 2020

NBC News and The New York Times report new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on gun violence. New data shows that gun-related suicides and homicides jumped in 2021, even higher than numbers already high in 2020. This high death rate has not been seen since the 1990s

The New York Times: Gun-related suicides and homicides continue to rise in 2021, CDC reports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that murders and suicides with firearms, which rose in 2020, the first year of the epidemic, continued to rise in 2021, reaching their highest rates in three decades. Firearms caused 47,286 homicides and suicides in 2021, up from 43,675 in 2020, according to the agency’s research, which is based on provisional data. Firearms-related homicide and suicide rates rose 8.3% last year. (Rabin, 10/6)

NBC News: Firearms deaths in 2021 are at levels not seen since the early 1990s, CDC finds

“We were hoping after a 35% increase in one year, it would either stabilize or decline,” said Thomas Simon, lead author of the new study and associate director of science in the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention. “But instead, it kept going up in 2021. Now the suicide rate has gone up, too.” Simon said disparities in gun homicide rates between racial groups have widened (Griffiths, 10/6)

Judge blocks part of New York’s new gun law

In other mental health news from across the US –

AP: Mississippi seeks to block federal mental health lawsuits

The US Department of Justice has exaggerated a lawsuit against Mississippi over its mental health system, and the state’s attorney general has defended it in a federal appeals court. A Justice Department attorney responded that there was sufficient precedent to demonstrate that the Department had the authority to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. (10/6)

Politico: Teachers skeptical of New Jersey’s plan to “re-engineer” student mental health program

New Jersey is trying to renew a pillar of the state’s student mental health system, but some school leaders and mental health providers say they feel “ambushed” by the plan and lack confidence in the ability of Governor Phil Murphy’s administration to implement it. Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, funding for the state’s Long-Term School Youth Services Program will be phased out and government funding for this system will be moved to a regional “pivot” model called the New Jersey Statewide Student Support Services Network, or NJ4S. It will be run by the State Department for Children and Families. (Citrine, 10/6)

More on suicide prevention –

Scientific American: Are you interested in others? The answer can predict your mental health

In South Carolina, a grieving mother whose son died by suicide distributes posters to young people. The poster reads “Jackson Matters and So Do You.” Being important to others – being important – has become more than a truism. “You Matter” is the slogan of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The phrase “black lives matter” draws attention to the exclusionary racism that affects more than one in eight Americans. Over the past 30 years, but no more than now, psychologists have formalized the “order” into a psychological construct that uniquely predicts depression, suicidal thoughts, or other mental ills. It also predicts physical resilience among the elderly. (Russo, 10/6)

The New York Times: Can Smartphones Help Predict Suicide?

In March, Catelyn Cruz left her latest psychotherapy with a familiar mix of feelings. On the one hand, she was relieved to leave the ward, as her assistants took her shoelaces and occasionally followed her into the bathroom to make sure she wouldn’t hurt herself. She said in an interview that her life abroad was as precarious as ever, with a pile of unpaid bills and no permanent home. It was easy to fall back into suicidal thoughts. For frail patients, the weeks after discharge from a psychiatric facility are a particularly challenging period, with the suicide rate being about 15 times the national average, according to one study. (Barry 9/30)

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