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In the wake of Anthony Bourdain and a new CDC report, we examine suicide’s causes and tools for prevention

Anthony Bourdain attends
Anthony Bourdain attends "WASTED! The Story of Food Waste" Premiere during 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 22, 2017 in New York City.
Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Fe

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Suicide rates inched up in nearly every U.S. state from 1999 through 2016, according to a new government report released Thursday.

The CDC report comes at a time of heightened attention to the issue with the suicides this week of designer Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

The study found that more than half of suicides in 2015 in a subgroup of 27 states were among people with no known mental health condition. It’s important to note that suicide is rarely caused by any single factor, health officials said, but information from coroners’ reports suggest many of the deaths followed relationship problems, substance use and financial crises.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and one of just three leading causes that are on the rise. There were nearly 45,000 suicides in 2016. Middle-aged adults - ages 45 to 64 - had the largest rate increase, rising to 19.2 per 100,000 in 2016 from 13.2 per 100,000 in 1999.

In light of Bourdain’s passing this morning, Larry sits down with Gustavo Arellano to reflect on the chef’s life and career. He also discusses prevention techniques with experts, and takes your calls on how to push through suicidal thoughts.

With files from the Associated Press.

If you are in need of support, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, for free and confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Deborah M. Stone, behavioral scientist in the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; she is the lead author of the CDC’s Vital Signs report on trends in state suicide rates; and a former con

Gustavo Arellano, California columnist for L.A. Times Opinion section; former editor and “¡Ask a Mexican!” columnist of O.C. Weekly; he was on a Los Angeles-based episode of Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” in 2017; he tweets @GustavoArellano

Mark S. Kaplan, professor of social welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs whose research focuses on understanding suicide risk factors among vulnerable populations

Sandri Kramer, project manager at the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center in Los Angeles