APA Calls Suicide Prevention a Public Health Priority

WASHINGTON — Following is a statement from the American Psychological Association President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, on the increase in suicide rates in the United States:

“The terrible and tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain reflect a growing national crisis. 

“Suicide increased by 25 percent across the United States from 1999 to 2016, according to research released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A shocking 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide in 2016. 

“Suicide needs to be a public health priority, so APA supports a multifaceted public health approach. We need to increase access to mental health screenings and ensure that insurance covers both prevention services and treatment. We need more funding for evidence-based treatment and its dissemination, including crisis services. We need more research and to ensure a focus on risk assessment, evidence-based prevention programs, and treatment to reduce the incidence of suicide.

“The science and practice of psychology play an essential role in both understanding and addressing the biopsychosocial underpinnings of this issue. This crisis affects people both with and without diagnosed mental health conditions. Suicide is often an act of desperation, brought on by an inability to cope with life’s stressors. Addressing the source of those stressors is vital.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or text "TALK" to 741741.

Find more resources on APA's website, including: 

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.