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Middle-aged suicide rates increase dramatically (USA)

May 16, 2013

A recent report released by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that suicide rates for middle-aged Americans have increased dramatically over the past decade. Citing increases of 28 per cent overall, the increase is 32 per cent for women and 27 per cent for men between the years 1999 and 2010.

Suicide rates for the age groups 10 to 34 years and 65 years and older did not change significantly during the same period.

Other key findings from the report:

  • The greatest increase in suicide rates were in two age groups – ages 50 to 54 years (48 per cent) and 55 to 59 years (49 per cent);
  • Analysis by racial/ethinc groups showed the greatest increases were among white non-Hispanics, American Indian and Alaska Natives;
  • Increases in suicide rates were geographically widespread and increased across all major regions of the United States

Authors speculate that the economic challenges of the past decade played a role in the upsurge in suicide rates, as depressed business cycles have historically correlated with increased suicide rates. Furthermore, the increased availability of prescription opioids has made it easier to commit suicide by intentional overdose.

The report, “Suicide Among Adults Aged 35-64 Years – United States, 1999-2012” was published May 2, 2013 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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