Suicide Rates Increase in Middle-aged Americans
Suicide deaths have surpassed deaths from motor vehicle crashes recently in the United States (U.S.). In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides. According to a CDC report released today, suicide rates in adults between the ages of 35 and 64 increased 28% between 1999 and 2010 while suicide rate changes for younger and older groups were comparatively small.
· Increases were particularly high among non-Hispanic whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives.
· Increases in rates were seen for both men and women and for all three leading mechanisms—hanging/suffocation, poisoning, and firearms.
· Suicide rates increased across the U.S., with statistically significant increases in 39 states and all four regions of the country.
Implications for Prevention
Suicide research and prevention programs have traditionally focused on youth and the elderly. The recent increase among middle-aged adults indicates there is a large public health burden in this age group that is not currently being addressed. These findings show the importance of developing and evaluating prevention programs for this population.
Strategies may include enhancing social support and connections within the community, improving access to mental health care, and reducing the stigma associated with seeking help. Other possible strategies including helping adults overcome financial challenges, job loss, the stress of caregiving roles, and their own health problems.
From the CDC Core Violence and Injury Prevention Program.