June 7 (UPI) -- Suicide rates have risen 30 percent nationwide in less than two decades, data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate.
In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide, the 10th leading cause of death, the federal agency said.
The CDC examined state-level trends from 1999 to two years ago, finding that rates have risen in 44 states, including 25 states with gains more than 30 percent. The information is available in the latest VitalSigns report.
"Suicide is a leading cause of death for Americans -- and it's a tragedy for families and communities across the country," Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director, said in a news release. "From individuals and communities to employers and healthcare professionals, everyone can play a role in efforts to help save lives and reverse this troubling rise in suicide."
All of the states had increased rates except Nevada, where it has been consistently high since 1999. Increases ranged from just under 6 percent in Delaware to more than 57 percent in North Dakota.
Including North Dakota, twelve states had increases from between 38 percent to 58 percent, and were concentrated mainly in the central United States -- Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming. Other states were New Hampshire, South Carolina and Vermont.
In 2016, suicides ranged from 6.9 per 100,000 residents per year in Washington, D.C., to 29.2 per 100,000 residents in Montana.
Suicide rates also increased in all age groups. Those aged 45-64 had the largest rate increase -- from 13.2 per 100,000 persons in 1999 to 19.2 per 100,000 in 2016 -- as well as the greatest number of suicides at 232,108.
Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, covering 27 states in 2015, was examined as contributing circumstances among those who died with known and unknown mental health conditions.
Suicide was mainly carried out by males -- 84 percent with no known mental health conditions and 69 percent with known ones.
In the study, more than half of people who killed themselves didn't have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Firearms were the most common method of suicide used by those with a known condition at 55 percent and 41 percent without a known one. Far behind were suffocation and poisoning.
Top factors that contributed to a risk for suicide were relationship problems (42 percent), crisis in the past or prior two weeks (29 percent), substance misuse (28 percent), physical health problems (22 percent). The other categories were job/financial problems (16 percent). criminal legal problems (9 percent) and loss of housing (4 percent).
The CDC offers information on suicide prevention at www.BeThe1to.com.