LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Troubling new data from the U.S. government shows more than 49,000 people have committed suicide this year — the highest number ever reported.

6 News spoke with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Michigan to learn more about the reasons behind these numbers.

Kevin Fischer Executive Director of NAMI Michigan says during COVID, we saw a decrease in suicide rates, with fewer than 46,000 in 2020.

But, now they are rising.

He says as the world opened back up, anxiety and depression increased.

Fischer reminds people that prevention is key when it comes to suicide.

Early warning signs that someone may be struggling are isolation, engaging in riskier behavior and extreme mood swings.

If you’re seeing these, Fischer says you need to act and ask that person if they are thinking of committing suicide.

“Suicide is one of the most preventable causes of death that we know. The problem is the stigma associated with mental illness and having the conversation about suicide, and then people being aware of what resources are available to them and how to access those resources,” said Fischer.

For family members who must continue living without their loved one, Fischer says it’s important to not blame yourself.

And if you are having suicidal thoughts, you can dial 9-8-8 for the National Suicide Prevention Line.