Friday, May 3, 2013

Mental Health:US Middle-Aged Suicide Climbs

In the most recent data available,suicide now takes more American lives annually than auto accidents.The 2010 figures reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the May 3 issue of its journal "Morbidity and MortalityWeekly Report" show more than 38,000 suicides occurred,versus less than 34,000 car crash fatalities.
A CDC analysis of the data indicated middle-aged adults suffered a spike in suicides,while the rate for other age groups was little changed.In 1999,there were 13.7 suicides per 100,000 adults age 35-64;in 2010,the rate rose to 17.6 per 100,000.That's a 28.4% increase.
According to the CDC,suicide prevention has traditionally been aimed at older and younger people.Now that will have to change,with more attention given to middle-aged adults.Prevention strategies include enhanced social support;community connectedness;and access to mental health and prevention services.
It was speculated that the spike among middle-aged people could be attributed to the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and the economic downturn that followed.
Besides the economy,other factors driving the middle-aged to take their own lives may be stress related to the health problems that increase with age; heavy caregiving responsibilities that are now more common at this stage of life,with elderly parents needing care along with children;substance abuse;and relationship issues.
The most common suicide methods for middle-aged men were firearm and hanging/suffocation,and poisoning and firearm for middle-aged women.

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