More Middle-Agers Committing Suicide in US

As a middle-aged (47 in three weeks), partly white woman, I totally get this. There is nothing golden about this time or about life in this country.

The suicide rate in the US rose from 1999 to 2005, the first increase after a decline of more than a decade, fueled by a 17 percent rise among middle-aged whites, researchers reported today.

Middle-aged men continued to kill themselves at a much higher rate than middle-aged women, while the rate rose faster in women than men. Rates of suicide declined slightly among blacks and Asians of all ages, as well as among white teenagers and adults younger than 40. They fell even more in people 65 and older.

Yet the number of white people ages 40 to 64 who took their own lives increased, to 17.5 for every 1,000 people in 2005 from 14.9 per 1,000 in 1999. The numbers surprised Susan Baker, a professor at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, who said yesterday in a telephone interview she was worried “the trend may continue or get worse.”

“I don’t know what’s going on with this age group,” said Baker, who led the analysis, which was published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “With the present economic crisis, I’m concerned we may be heading into a period where it’s especially important for primary care physicians to pay attention to people in this age group.

Before 1999, the US suicide rate had declined for 13 years. The new numbers are especially puzzling because other research has found that for most people, middle age “is a time of relative security and emotional well-being,” Baker and her colleagues wrote in their paper. Their analysis was based on death reports compiled by an injury prevention program of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

via Bloomberg: Suicide Rate Rises in US, As More Middle-Aged Die


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