This spring, suicide news paraded down America’s front pages and social-media feeds, led by a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called self-harm “an increasing public health concern.” Although the CDC revealed grabby figures—like the fact that there are more deaths by suicide than by road accident—the effort prompted only a tired spasm of talk about aging baby boomers and life in a recession.
We blew past an even bigger milestone revealed in November, when a study lead by Ian Rockett, an epidemiologist at West Virginia University, showed that suicide had become the leading cause of “injury death” in America. As the CDC noted again this spring, suicide outpaces the rate of death on the road—and for that matter anywhere else people accidentally harm themselves.