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.