U.S. suicide numbers reached a grim new high in 2022.

The increase was most acute among women over the age of 24, according to provisional data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, almost 49,500 people lost their lives to suicide in 2022, the report found, a 3% rise from the nearly 48,200 deaths recorded in 2021.

That makes the 2022 death toll from suicide “the highest number ever recorded in the United States,” according to the CDC researchers.

The data they presented is also preliminary, so “the 2022 final number of suicides is likely to be higher as additional death certificates with pending causes of death are determined to be suicides,” they noted.

For reasons not explained in the report, middle-aged and older women appeared to be hit hardest by the rise in suicides.

In absolute numbers, men are still far more likely than women to kill themselves: In 2022, 39,255 males died by suicide versus 10,194 females.

However, the percentage increase in suicides among women in 2022 was much steeper than what was seen among men: 4% versus 1%, respectively, the CDC team noted.

The 2022 rise among females was concentrated in those aged 25 and older. While suicide rates fell among younger women and female teens, it jumped 7% for women between the ages of 25 and 34. Women over 35 also saw their rates for suicide rise by between 2% and 9%, the report authors noted.

The only good news from the report, published Nov. 29 by the National Center for Health Statistics, came for young Americans.

According to the researchers, “for both males and females, suicide rates generally declined from 2021 to 2022 for younger age groups, from ages 10 to 34 for males and 10 to 24 for females.”

Still, deaths from suicide have “risen almost steadily during the 21st century, with increases experienced for both males and females” and across races and age groups.

In fact, “in 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a call to action on a national strategy for suicide prevention,” the report authors noted.

Last July also marked the launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, to make it easier for Americans in mental health crisis to find immediate help.

If you or someone you love is showing signs of suicidal thoughts, help is at hand by calling or texting 988.

More information

Find out more on how you can help save the lives of people in mental health crisis at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

SOURCE: Provisional Estimates of Suicide by Demographic Characteristics: United States, 2022, National Center for Health Statistics, Nov. 29, 2023