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Suicide rate in New York City below the national average, but on the rise

NEW YORK —Suicide rates in New York City are below the national average, but are still on the rise, a Wednesday Health Department report shows.

More New Yorkers died from suicide last year than from homicides, according to the Health Department. The annual rate of suicides citywide rose 14.5 percent from 2000 to 2014.

“This concerning increase in the suicide rate in New York City tells us that we’re not reaching New Yorkers early enough when they need support,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.

Men make up the majority of suicide deaths, but their suicide rate has remained steady. The suicide rate of women has increased 56 percent since 2000. Even with the increase, the suicide rate in New York is only about half of the rate nationwide.

“We can take some comfort from the fact that New York City suicide rates are well below the national average. Clearly we are doing something right,” said Councilmen Andrew Cohen, chair of the Committee on Mental Health.

New York’s lower rate may stem from the area’s strict gun control laws. Guns were used in only 10 percent of suicides in New York in 2014, but they were used in half of all suicides nationwide.

The city does have an initiative, ThriveNYC, designed to prevent suicides.

“By tackling stigma, we are helping those in need feel more comfortable seeking support and preventing a tragedy that devastates so many families,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “By making mental health resources available where people live, work, study and worship, we can save lives.”

You can read more about depression warning signs and suicide prevention here.