Suicides in the US fell by nearly 6% last year, according to preliminary data, despite concerns that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to an increase in the types of death.
The percentage decline of national suicides is the largest in at least four decades, though the number can change as death certificates are still outstanding.
The preliminary figures were released in a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said the suicides last year dropped below 45,000.
Suicides had risen steadily from the early 2000s, peaking in 2018 at the highest level since 1941.
In 2019 suicide rates fell, and, preliminarily, the downward trend appears to have continued in 2020.
This comes amid the pandemic where Americans, according to surveys, have reported increased anxiety, drug use and depression.
Gun sales also skyrocketed 85% at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.
One medical expert suggested the decline could be linked to a phenomenon seen in the early stages of wars and national disasters.
“There’s a heroism phase in every disaster period, where we’re banding together and expressing lots of messages of support that we’re in this together,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“You saw that, at least in the early months of the pandemic.”
With Post wires