NEVADA – According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the second leading cause of death in Nevada in 2020, with more deaths by suicide (603) than homicides (217) and transportation deaths (380) combined. While suicide rates decreased for most age groups in Nevada in 2021, rates increased for 18-24-year-olds after two years of decline.
Richard Egan, the training and outreach facilitator for the Office of Suicide Prevention, noted that the increase in suicides among younger people is a national trend. Although suicide rates overall decreased in 2020, the number and rate of suicides in the United States increased by 4% from 2020-2021, with higher increases in some populations.
Egan emphasized that suicide is a complex issue with multiple contributing factors, including mental health conditions, stressful life events, and access to lethal means. Warning signs include a person talking about being a burden to others, isolating themselves, giving away belongings, and losing interest. Protective factors include access to mental health care and connections to family and community support.
For the 18-24 year old and 65+ age groups in Nevada, Egan said that they tend to have fewer social connections, which is a key resiliency factor for suicide prevention. Firearms are also a common method for suicide attempts and Nevada’s suicide firearm rate is higher than the national average.
A state Senate bill has been proposed to criminalize unsafe storage of firearms, require licensed gun dealers to provide locking devices and develop a safe firearm education program for the state. The bill also mandates that the Nevada Department of Education oversee school district plans for addressing active shootings and providing disaster behavioral health related to a crisis, emergency, or suicide. The bill has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and may help scale up existing suicide prevention programs.
Credits: Nevada Current / This is Reno
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