Nearly 45,000 people died by suicide in 2016, the CDC team found.
“What we tried to do in this study was look at the state level at trends over time,” Schuchat said.
“Unfortunately, the suicide rates went up more than 30 percent in half of the states.”
Suicide rates have increased in every state since 1999 with the exception of Nevada — but Nevada has already long had one of the highest suicide rates in the country.
“A key thing that we focused on was looking at individuals who committed suicide, comparing those with mental health diagnoses with those who didn’t,” Schuchat told NBC News.
“More than half of all the individuals who committed suicide had no mental health diagnoses.”
That may be in part because it’s so difficult to get mental health care, said Dr. Jack Rozel, medical director of the Allegheny crisis services facility in Pittsburgh and president-elect of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry.
“I run a major crisis center. We have 150 staff. We provide almost 150,000 services every year,” Rozel, also a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said.
Yet even his team sometimes has problems finding help for people.
“I think I am reasonably well-connected. About a year ago a friend of mine reached out to me. He was feeling more sad, more anxious, than usual,” Rozel said.
“It took me days to get him an appointment with someone. It’s a problem.”
Even when people do have treatment, Rozel said, it may be difficult to find the right approach and to find the time and money to continue.
“The first medication doesn’t always work. Sometimes you have to find a second or a third. Or a therapist — for whatever reason you don’t connect, you don’t link. It puts people in a very tough spot,” he said.
But there’s more to the trends than simply mental health issues, said Schuchat.