Suicide rate on track to be higher than past two years, Milwaukee Co. medical examiner says

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Suicide rates increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Milwaukee County medical examiner reported suicides are tracking 60 percent higher this year than in 2021, and 63 percent higher than in 2020.

The increase doesn't come as a surprise to Dr. Jerry Havlerson.

"I wish I could tell you that suicides haven't been slowly climbing over the past several years," Halverson said.

The chief medical officer at Rogers Behavioral Health told CBS 58 they tend to see these numbers go up in the winter months.

"People tend to have more depression. It's less easy to go outside and be as active as you like to be," Halverson said.

The past two years have been particularly rough. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't made life any easier for people struggling with anxiety and depression.

"Now that we've been in this so long, people are starting to give up that it's going to get better," Halverson said.

Halverson said the pandemic is also bringing on an increase in other psychiatric disorders, which could lead to suicide if left untreated.

"As the demand goes up, as we've seen in the past, there's a limited amount of services out in the community. So, there are people who need help who aren't getting help or having to wait for help," Halverson said.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text "HOPELINE" to 741741. 

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