According to data from the office of the Collin County Medical Examiner, the county suicide rate was lower this year in quarantine than it was in the same time period last year.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Since 1999, death by suicide has been steadily increasing.
In Texas, the suicide rate increased by 18.9 percent between 1999 and 2016, according to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) infographic from 2018.
Collin County’s decrease in deaths by suicide is not consistent with trends across the rest of the country.
In a CDC study from June 2020 analyzing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health outcomes among U.S. adults, over 40 percent of respondents reported “at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition.”
The percentage of respondents who seriously contemplated suicide in the 30 days prior to completing the survey was around 1 in 10 respondents, but this percentage was higher among racial minorities (18.6 percent among Hispanic respondents and 15.1 percent among Black, non-Hispanic respondents), essential workers (21.7 percent) among young adults between the ages of 18-24 (25.5%).
Dr. William Rohr, Chief Medical Examiner in Collin County, said that suicide rates are unpredictable and is unsure what to attribute the decrease to.
“I have no idea (why the suicide rate is lower). The facts are what they are. … We generate data and give it to people. … I just hate to speculate about what it is,” Rohr said.
Regardless of what the reasons for this decrease might be, this comes as good news in a year that most say has been full of grief and disaster.