(WASHINGTON) — A total of 49,449 Americans died by suicide in 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

This is a 2.6% increase from 48,183 in 2021 and the highest number ever recorded, according to provisional numbers released in a new report from the federal health agency.

The greatest increase was seen among adults aged 65 and older, which was up 8.1% from 2021, and the second highest increase was in those aged 45 to 64, with a 6.6% rise.

There also was an increase among those aged 25 to 44, but of just 0.7%

Researchers also found overall increases in both genders, up 2.3% among men and 2.8% among women, and among most racial and ethnic groups, except American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders saw the largest increase among racial and ethnic groups with 15.9% in 2022. Americans identifying as multiracial saw the second-largest increase at 21.%

However, one bright spot was that among children, teenagers and young adults – between ages 18 and 34, suicides decreased by 8.4%, according to the report.

The CDC said suicides have been increasing almost every year since 2006 — with exceptions in 2019 and 2020 — and that immediate action will need to be taken to address this crisis.

“The troubling increase in suicides requires immediate action across our society to address the staggering loss of life from tragedies that are preventable,” Dr. Debra Houry, the CDC’s chief medical officer, said in a press release. “Everyone can play a role in efforts to save lives and reverse the rise in suicide deaths.”

The agency urged those seeking help to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis lifeline and to help safeguard those who may be at risk of suicide. This includes asking people if they need help, being there for them, helping them connect with resources and following up.

“Nine in 10 Americans believe America is facing a mental health crisis,” Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “The new suicide death data reported by CDC illustrates why. One life lost to suicide is one too many. Yet, too many people still believe asking for help is a sign of weakness,”

“The Biden-Harris Administration is making unprecedented investments to transform how mental health is understood, accessed and treated as part of President Biden’s Unity Agenda,” Becerra said. “We must continue to eliminate the stigmatization of mental health and make care available to all Americans.”

The CDC also placed emphasis on its Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program, which focuses on suicide prevention, especially among populations that are disproportionately affected by suicide.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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