By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –Suicide rates in the United States are at a 30 year high, according to a new government report. This statistic comes despite efforts by health experts to shift the trend.
Gregg Loomis has struggled with depression for many years. It was so extreme he tried to end his own life.
“I did not want to live, I figured I’d be better off dead,” Gregg said emotionally.
The 57-year-old suffers from manic depression and bipolar disorder, which is now being helped with medication.
“There was a neurochemical thing going on in my brain that twisted the way I thought,” he said.
A new report from the CDC says suicide rates have jumped to the highest level in decades.
“Suicide rates are on the rise in our nation, there has been a 24 percent increase overall,” said Dr. Christine Moutier of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The most alarming findings: suicide rates for girls 10 to 14 tripled, although the overall number was still very low, and suicide rates also jumped for men between 45 and 64.
Studies show middle age and financial concerns can be driving factors. Experts say there needs to be more focus on prevention and eliminating the stigma around mental health issues.
“To take the shame out of seeking psychotherapy or psychiatric treatment if it’s warranted,” Moutier said. “That’s part of taking care of your health.”
Locally, the University of Pennsylvania has had an especially high number of suicides. The campus has set up peer counseling groups for anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide. For more information visit http://philadelphia.pa.networkofcare.org/mh/emergency-services.aspx or call the National Prevention Hotline at 800-273-talk