Deborah Stone, Behavioral Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains that after two consecutive years of declines, U.S. suicide rates increased in 2021, nearly returning to their 2018 peak; Hannah Wesolowski, Chief...
Deborah Stone, Behavioral Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains that after two consecutive years of declines, U.S. suicide rates increased in 2021, nearly returning to their 2018 peak; Hannah Wesolowski, Chief Advocacy Officer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, outlines the unique opportunity to invest in mental health; and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will discuss its goals for improving maternal health outcomes on March 27th.
CDC Webpage: Suicide Prevention
CDC Webpage: Notes from the Field: Recent Changes in Suicide Rates, by Race and Ethnicity and Age Group — United States, 2021
National Alliance on Mental Illness Webpage
The Wall Street Journal News Article: More Money for Mental-Health Programs Gets Bipartisan Support in Many States
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Event Registration
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson. Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
This study analyzed changes in suicide rates by race, ethnicity and age group during the period 2018 to 2021.
Deborah Stone with the CDC on the latest data about suicides in the US.
First, what we found overall was that after two consecutive years of declines, U.S. suicide rates increased in 2021, nearly returning to their 2018 peak. Looking by race and ethnicity, we found that the highest suicide rates were among non-Hispanic American Indian Alaskan natives and among non Hispanic whites.
Stone says rates increased to 26% for non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native people. They rose more than 19% among non-Hispanic Black populations, and almost 7% among Hispanic people.
Again, while we did not look at the reasons for increases, we know that people of color were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only in terms of the illness and death of friends and loved ones, but also related to job and financial concerns, among other risks. Any of this would have been concerned enough, but these losses were likely compounded by pre-existing and long standing inequities that have systematically undermined the physical, social, economic and emotional health of racial and ethnic minority populations and other groups.
Stone adds that the CDC has a comprehensive guide to help agencies develop prevention strategies.
This report outlines more than 60 interventions designed to help states and communities prevent suicide risk in the first place, and support people who are struggling now or who have lost a loved one friend or neighbor to suicide. The resource includes interventions to strengthen economic supports, reduce access to lethal means among people at risk, promote connectedness, teach coping and problem solving skills, reduce barriers to health and mental health care and identify and support people at risk among others.
You can download the guide, review the data and get other information using the links in the show notes.
Many governors have been quoted recently about the need to spend more money on mental health. Hannah Wesolowski is with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Why are so many focused on significant investments in mental health? Where are we what is needed? How would this funding be used? And what's the likelihood of it coming to fruition?
Wesolowski says some states have COVID money they still need to spend, others have a budget surplus. Whatever the funding source, Wesolowski says there's an opportunity to invest in mental health.
Some of the areas where we're seeing consistency across states of where they want to invest. It's increasing crisis services for people who are experiencing a mental health suicidal or substance use crisis to make sure that we are building a system that isn't focused on law enforcement intervention, which has traditionally been the only option available to really developing a range of crisis services that can help people when they need it most.
Wesolowski says state and territorial leaders must include their public health advisors in the decision making process.
You know, I think all health officials need to be in the room to direct this funding to be where the biggest gaps are, whether it's allocating federal resources that are coming to the state or pushing for more resources invested at a state level, really thinking about what individuals need holistically.
Also today, substance use disorder during pregnancy is getting attention at the White House. O'Keyla Cooper has more.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will discuss its goals for improving maternal health outcomes and increasing access to evidence-based treatment on March 27th at 1pm Eastern Time. The webinar will also provide recommendations for how state maternal and child health programs can collaborate with Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and strengthen local behavioral health systems. More information can be found using the link in the show notes.
Finally, this morning, stay in the loop on everything happening in public health. When you sign up for ASTHO's Public Health Weekly email newsletter, there's a link in the show notes.
That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information. I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.
Lead Behavioral Scientist, Division of Injury Prevention, CDC Suicide Prevention Team