U. S. suicide rate surges to 30-year high

Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 9:05 AM

The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a grouping whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the one thousand nine hundred fifty.

U. S. suicide rate surges to 30-year high

Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly thirty years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age grouping except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a grouping whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s.

The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages forty-five to sixty-four, jumped by sixty-three % over the period of the study, while it rose by forty-three % for men in that age range, the sharpest expand for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by twenty-four % from one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine to two thousand fourteen, according to the National Middle for Health Statistics, which released the study Friday.

The increases were so widespread that they lifted the nation’s suicide rate to thirteen per 100.000 people, the highest since one thousand nine hundred eighty-six. The rate rose by two % a year starting in two thousand-sixth, double the annual rise in the earlier period of the study. In all, 42.773 people died from suicide in two thousand-fourteenth, compared with 29.199 in one thousand nine hundred ninety-ninth.

“It’s really stunning to look such a large expand in suicide rates affecting virtually every age group,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior adviser for health care at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who's identified a link between suicides in center age and rising rates of distress about jobs and personal finances.

Researchers also found an alarming expand among girls ten to fourteen, whose suicide rate, while still very low, had tripled. The no of girls who killed themselves rose to one hundred fifty in two thousand-fourteenth from fifty in one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine. “This one certainly jumped out,” said Sally Curtin, a statistician at the middle and an author of the report.

American Indians had the sharpest rise of all racial and ethnic groups, with rates rising by eighty-nine % for women and thirty-eight % for men. White middle-aged women had an expand of eighty percent.

The rate declined for just one racial group: black men. And it declined for only one age group: men and women over seventy-five.

The data analysis provided fresh proof of suffering among white Americans. Recent research has highlighted the plight of less educated whites, showing surges in deaths from drug overdoses, suicides, liver sickness and alcohol poisoning, particularly among those with a high school education or less. The new report didn't crack down suicide rates by education, but researchers who reviewed the analysis said the patterns in age and race were consistent with that recent research and painted a picture of desperation for many in American society.

“This is portion of the larger emerging pattern of proof of the links between poverty, hopelessness and health,” said Robert D. Putnam, a Prof of public policy at Harvard and the author of “Our Kids,” an investigation of new class divisions in America.

The rise in suicide rates has happened slowly over many years. Federal health researchers said they chose one thousand nine hundred ninety-ninth as the start of the period they studied because it was a low point in the national suicide rate and they wanted to cover the full period of its recent sustained rise.

The federal health agency’s latest major report on suicide, released in two thousand-thirteenth, well-known a sharp expand in suicide among 35- to sixty-four-year-olds. But the rates have risen even more since then – up by seven % for the all pop since two thousand ten, the finish of the latest study period – and federal researchers said they issued the new report to draw attention to the issue.

Policymakers declare efforts to prevent suicide across the country are spotty. While some hospitals and health systems screen for suicidal thinking and work excellent treatment programs, many do not.

“We have more and more effective treatments, but we've to figure out how to bake them into health care systems so they're used more automatically,” said Dr. Jane Pearson, chairwoman of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Suicide Research Consortium, which oversees the National Institutes of Health funding for suicide prevention research. “We’ve got bits and pieces, but we haven’t really keep them all together yet.”

She well-known that while NIH funding for suicide prevention projects had been relatively flat – rising to $twenty-five million in two thousand-sixteenth from $22 million in two thousand-twelfth – it was a tiny fraction of funding for research of mental illnesses, including mood disorders like depression.

The new federal analysis well-known that the methods of suicide were changing. About one in four suicides in two thousand-fourteenth involved suffocation, which includes hanging and strangulation, compared with fewer than one in five in 1999. Suffocation deaths are harder to prevent because nearly anyone has access to the means, Hempstead said. Death from guns fell for both men and women. Guns went from being involved in thirty-seventh % of female suicides to thirty-one percent, and from sixty-two % to fifty-five % for men.

The question of what's driven the increases is unresolved, leaving experts to muse on the reasons.

Julie Phillips, a Prof of sociology at Rutgers who's studied suicide among middle-aged Americans, said social changes could be raising the risks. Marriage rates have declined, particularly among less educated Americans, while divorce rates have risen, leading to increased social isolation, she said. She calculated that in two thousand-fifth, unmarried middle-aged men were 3.5 times more likely than married men to die from suicide, and their female counterparts were as much as 2.8 times more likely to murder themselves. The divorce rate has doubled for middle-aged and older adults since the one thousand nine hundred ninety, she said.

Disappointed expectations of social and economic well-being among less educated white men from the baby-boom generation may also be playing a role, she said. They grew up in an era that valued “masculinity and self-reliance” – characteristics that could obtain in the way of asking for help.

“It appears this grouping isn’t seeking assistance but rather turning to self-destructive means of dealing with their despair,” Phillips said.

Another possible explanation: an economy that's eaten far at the prospects of families on the lower rungs of the income ladder.

Dr. Alex Crosby, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Sickness Control and Prevention, said he'd studied the organization between economic downturns and suicide going back to the one thousand nine hundred twenty and found that suicide was highest when the economy was weak. One of the highest rates in the country’s modern history, he said, was in one thousand nine hundred thirty-second, during the Grand Depression, when the rate was 22.1 per 100.000, about seventy % higher than in two thousand-fourteenth.

“There was a consistent pattern,” he said, which held for all ages between 25 and 64. “When the economy got worse, suicides went up, and when it got better, they went down.”

But other experts pointed out that the unemployment rate had been declining in the latter period of the study, and questioned how necessary the economy was to suicide.

The gap in suicide rates for men and women has narrowed because women’s rates are increasing faster than men’s. But men still murder themselves at a rate 3.6 times that of women. Though suicide rates for older adults fell over the period of the study, men over 75 still have the highest suicide rate of any age group – 38.8 per 100.000 in 2014, compared with just four per 100.000 for their female counterparts.

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