Data Tracker

Here’s what the suicide epidemic looks like in California

California residents are committing suicide at unprecedented rates.

Nearly 4,300 Californians killed themselves in 2016, a 50 percent increase from 2001, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The suicide rate rose from 8.2 suicides per 100,000 residents to 10.9 suicides per 100,000 residents over the same time period.

Suicide rates are particularly high in rural parts of California where mental health care is scarce. Trinity County saw an annual rate of more than 30 suicides per 100,000 residents between 1999 and 2016, roughly triple the statewide rate.

Older men are the most likely group to commit suicides in California. The rate of suicide among California's oldest men was five times as high as the rate for all age groups from 1999 through 2016.

Suicide rates are highest in California among whites and Native Americans. They are lowest among Hispanics.

Between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates increased in every state except Nevada, according to the CDC. North Dakota had the largest increase.

Attention toward suicide prevention increased this month after the high profile deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain.

If you are considering suicide, reach out for help at any time by calling 1-800-273-8255.

Phillip Reese is The Bee’s data specialist and teaches at Sacramento State: 916-321-1137.

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