NYC Suicide Death Rate Remains Same as In Pre-Pandemic

Health Department released a new report detailing provisional suicide death data for the first six months of 2021.
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December 6, 2022 — Today, the Health Department released a new report detailing provisional suicide death data for the first six months of 2021. From January to June, there were 285 suicide deaths — a number that is consistent with the numbers across the previous decade. The Health Department continues to remind New Yorkers that free, confidential mental health support is available through the City’s mental health helpline NYC Well by calling 888-NYC-WELL or by visiting New Yorkers dialing from NYC area codes can also access help through the new National Suicide Prevention Hotline by dialing 988.

“Every 16 hours, someone dies from suicide in New York City,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “All of us have been touched by suicide in some way, including myself and my family. We must, once and for all, eliminate shame, stigma and discrimination around mental health needs. It’s okay to ask for help. If you’re struggling with your mental health, support is available. Call or text NYC Well to connect with a counselor and learn more about available help and resources. You are not alone.”

Based on the NYC Community Health Survey data from 2020, 2.4% of NYC adults ages 18 and older thought seriously about ending their own life at some point in the past 12 months. Among those with suicidal ideation, 14.1% attempted suicide in the past 12 months.

Over the last decade, the overall rate of suicide has remained flat in NYC and is about half of the national rate, according to a Health Department report released last year looking at suicide death trends from 2010 to 2019.

Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented substantial mental health challenges and stressors to New Yorkers. Social isolation, trauma and social and economic insecurity during the pandemic has contributed to rising mental health needs. Symptoms of anxiety and depression continued to be elevated compared with pre-pandemic levels, and call volume to NYC Well has increased, according to Health Department data. Available suicide death data from 2021 remains consistent with suicide death numbers in years prior to the pandemic.

Suicide is preventable. Warning signs that someone may be considering suicide include:

(1) Talking about death or suicide
(2) Showing or talking about feelings of hopelessness
(3) Saying they are a burden, avoiding friends and family
(4) Losing interest in activities
(5) Displaying mood swings
(6) Giving away possessions
(7) Saying goodbye to family or friends

A common misconception is that talking or asking about suicide will give someone the idea to harm themselves. This is not true. By being open and asking directly — with questions such as ‘Are you thinking of ending your life?’ — you are giving someone an opportunity to share and allow you to help. Listen to their story without judgement and let them know you care.

New Yorkers seeking support with their mental health or who are concerned about a loved one can connect to free, trained counselors available in over 200 languages, 24/7 by contacting NYC Well: Call 888-NYC-WELL, text “WELL” to 65173 or chat online at New Yorkers calling from an NYC area code can also call 988, the recently launched national mental health helpline number, as 988 callers with New York City area codes are routed to NYC Well.

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of hurting themselves, or in immediate danger, call 911.

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