Suicide Rate Jumps, Economy To Blame?

Suicide rate jumpsNEW YORK -- The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed a startling 28 percent in a decade, a period that included the recession and the mortgage crisis, the government reported Thursday.

The trend was most pronounced among white men and women in that age group. Their suicide rate jumped 40 percent between 1999 and 2010. But the rates in younger and older people held steady. And there was little change among middle-aged blacks, Hispanics and most other racial and ethnic groups, the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Why did so many middle-aged whites -- that is, those who are 35 to 64 years old -- take their own lives? One theory suggests the recession caused more emotional trauma in whites, who tend not to have the same kind of church support and extended families that blacks and Hispanics do. The economy was in recession from the end of 2007 until mid-2009. Even well afterward, polls showed most Americans remained worried about weak hiring, a depressed housing market and other problems.

Is The Recession To Blame?
There are several theories. Some experts suggest that white baby boomers are just more prone to depression and suicide. Others have blamed the growing sale and abuse of prescription painkillers. And others posit the economy.

Pat Smith, violence-prevention program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Community Health, said the recession -- which hit manufacturing-heavy states particularly hard -- may have pushed already-troubled people over the brink. Being unable to find a job or settling for one with lower pay or prestige could add "that final weight to a whole chain of events," she said.

People ages 35 to 64 account for about 57 percent of suicides in the U.S.

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A Rash Of 'Economic Suicides' In Europe
Last year, AOL Jobs reported that there had been an uptick in suicides in Europe, which was being blamed on the economy. A study found that the UK was seeing about 1,000 more suicides a year from 2008 to 2010 than historic trends would have suggested. The researchers also said that the regions that saw the greatest rise in suicides were those that had the largest increases in unemployment. While the authors conceded that a link between unemployment and the rise in suicides is still not conclusive, they also note that a slight decrease in suicides in 2010 coincided with a minor improvement in male employment that year.

In countries like Greece, Portugal and Italy, where unemployment has reached disastrous proportions, most people agree that the economy has been causing a spike in suicides. Greece saw a 40 percent increase in suicides in the first half of 2011 compared to that same period in 2010.

Massive Drug Overdoses In The U.S.
The CDC report contained surprising information about how middle-aged people kill themselves: During the period studied, hangings overtook drug overdoses in that age group, becoming the No. 2 manner of suicide. But guns remained far in the lead and were the instrument of death in nearly half of all suicides among the middle-aged in 2010. (The CDC does not collect gun ownership statistics and did not look at the relationship between suicide rates and the prevalence of firearms.)

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For the entire U.S. population, there were 38,350 suicides in 2010, making it the nation's 10th leading cause of death, the CDC said. The overall national suicide rate climbed from 12 suicides per 100,000 people in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2010. That was a 15 percent increase. For the middle-aged, the rate jumped from about 14 per 100,000 to nearly 18 -- a 28 percent increase. Among whites in that age group, it spiked from about 16 to 22. Suicide prevention efforts have tended to concentrate on teenagers and the elderly, but research over the past several years has begun to focus on the middle-aged. The new CDC report is being called the first to show how the trend is playing out nationally and to look in depth at the racial and geographic breakdown.

Thirty-nine out of 50 states registered a statistically significant increase in suicide rates among the middle-aged. The West and the South had the highest rates. It's not clear why, but one factor may be cultural differences in willingness to seek help during tough times, Simon said.
Also, it may be more difficult to find counseling and mental health services in certain places, he added.

The CDC did not break out suicides of current and former military service members, a tragedy that has been getting increased attention. But a recent Department of Veterans Affairs report concluded that suicides among veterans have been relatively stable in the past decade and that veterans have been a shrinking percentage of suicides nationally.

AOL Jobs contributed to this report.

Middle-Aged Suicide Rate Up

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May 08 2013 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Obama hasn't worried about JOBS for five years; and won't do anything to create them in his last three years.

May 06 2013 at 1:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I wonder how many are illegal aliens that are collecting welfare benefits & shooting out anchor babies every year to increase the amount of benefits they get? Or is it just the taxpayers that are offing themselves because they're being denied benefits and just can't do it anymore with every single thing getting more expensive by the day?

May 06 2013 at 12:23 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Diane's comment

You pretty much hit the nail on th head Diane. I agree with you completely. It is the middle aged whites ,who USED to be middle class once, that are suffering the most. Illegals are "playing our system" but GOOD.They have evrything handed to them on a silver platter. Free medical, education, cheap housing, all KINDS of benefits we can only dream of !! Oh yea.... and them free Obama cell phones too !!!

May 06 2013 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Over MONEY??????? You have to be kidding, money??????????. The world is full of horror, look at the Middle East, parts of Asia, Eastern Europe, South and Central America, these people have lost more than their money, they have lost family, homes, everything, and yet they continue on. I would seriously hate to think these people are so weak and materialistic that they off themmselves over money.

May 06 2013 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These people have worked, saved & trusted the system ( our gov. ) all their working life. The government turned their back on these people in favor of appeasing blocks of special interest groups with hand outs to secure the blocks of votes they control so that they could remain in power. The way to pay the cost of these programs is the redistribute the wealth as Obama promised in his first election.

May 06 2013 at 11:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to imd89's comment

Absolutely correct !!

May 06 2013 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Welcome MSGT

News Alert..........................obama said it is Bushes fault.

May 06 2013 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

BEGINNING TO FEEL THAT WAY MYSELF. BUT SEEMS I`M A COWARD. this is a very hard thing to do. you keep thinking things will change. nothing bad last forever. nor does anything good. but the wait sometimes is too much, when noone knows and can help you. depression sucks. and those around you seem to want to kick you when your down. you work your whole life. and others take from you everything you worked for. just like that, all gone, then they want to know why people don`t wish to stay around any longer. other people destroy you. and this country only helps other countries. they need to take care of their. own back yard first.

May 06 2013 at 8:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

When white fold lose their jobs and file for unemployment and food stamps they feel like failures (which they are), and they suffer a loss in the quality of their lives and the inability to provide for their wife and children weighs heavily on their conscience.
Minorites think that's crazy, because you should be dependent on government and you should have no responsibility for raising children you make, and the only thing they are worried about is that there are now fewer white successful working men and women to tax to pay for their stuff.

May 06 2013 at 8:46 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

When white people lose their jobs, they aren't eligible for government assistance.

May 05 2013 at 1:37 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I once was so poor I lived in a trailer with no sewer system. I had to go outside to go to the public bathroom or flush the toilet into a bucket and then empty the bucket in the restroom or the creek. Toilet paper was put into a paper bag. The trailer had no oven and microwaves were very big and expensive back then. There was only jobs that paid minimum wage or slightly above in the town I lived in. I later graduated to a mobile home and lost it in a flood. I never thought of killing myself. I could read, watch television (without cable), visit friends, go swimming in the river, play with my neighbor's dogs, helped my friend's son with his homework, made a little extra money doing odd jobs. Look at people who live in huts in much of the world and don't even have enough to eat in countries with no food stamps. They don't kill themselves. People live as quadraplegics and blind, etc.; same thing, they value what little they have and keep living.

May 05 2013 at 11:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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