The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

US Suicide Rates Hit Record High in 2022

Mishree Narasaiah
Death by suicide becomes more common and a serious cause of concern as suicide rates reach an all time high.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new data showing that death by suicide in the US hit a new high total of 49,449 in 2022. This rate was a significant 2.6% increase from 2021-2022, with a 2.3% increase for males and 3.8% increase for females. 

Although suicide rates in the US increased 37% from 2000-2018, then decreased 5% from 2018-2020, they nearly returned to their peak in 2021 and have been steadily increasing ever since. 

“These statistics sadden me because it hurts to know that so many people won’t reach out and ask for help on problems that [could] ultimately lead to their fatal decision,” Rutu Ruparel ‘25 said.

Ruparel is the co-founder of the Active Minds Club and aims to promote mental health awareness and establish a safe environment on campus. She strongly believes that if more people were aware of the help available to them and reached out for support resources, such as professional help, support groups, and help lines, many deaths could have been prevented. 

“In a way, a lot of us are afraid to talk about issues in our lives because it hasn’t been normalized to talk about, and I really think that needs to change,” Ruparel said. “Which is also what we’re trying to do in Active Minds: create a safe place so that students know they’re not alone.”

As Ryan Linton ‘25 believes, people tend to commit suicide due to the high-pressure and stressful circumstances they are in, especially when they’re unable to talk to anyone about it. Their state is worsened when they are unable to improve their situation by bettering their conditions, which causes them to feel despair.

“I can see how this connects to our community at Westwood,” Linton said. “Everyone is so focused on their standing academically that at some point, the pressure might be too much, and one might consider suicide to be an option.”

A high school that’s as competitive as Westwood definitely sets high standards for its students and pushes them to excel in all aspects of education and intellect. However, it also ingrains a sense of failure in students, which many struggle with. 

“I think most students feel like they’re not good enough in the [Westwood] environment,” said a student who wishes to be anonymous. “That adds to the feeling of failure which panics a lot of people because they believe that one wrong step will ruin their future, so they get scared and try to prevent that future by [taking] serious actions.”

Following the “flawless standards” that are impossible to live up to is a constant source of anxiety for many students who wish to excel in their careers, since they are held back by the fear of “not being smart enough,” which can have a drastic detrimental effect on their mental health and be severe enough to drive them to the point of suicide. 

“The Westwood environment needs to admit that it’s okay to stumble,” the anonymous student said, “because people and humans do.”

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About the Contributor
Mishree Narasaiah
Mishree Narasaiah, Reporter
Class of 2025 Hey! I'm super excited to be part of Student Press because this community of like-minded people truly enables me to capitalize on my passion for writing while making meaningful connections and memories! When I'm not busy with schoolwork, I enjoy spending time with my friends, family, and dog, watching TV, reading books, playing the guitar, and thinking about abstract concepts and theories.

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