A report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that from 1999-2010 suicide rates among middle-aged individuals age 35-64 has increased by a whopping 28.4%.
These findings are consistent with a previously released study that revealed a significant increase in the overall suicide rate among middle-aged individuals, comparative to a small increase in rates among younger individuals, and a decline among older individuals.
The increases reported were geographically extensive, occurring in areas with high suicide rate levels, as well as areas with average and low suicide rate levels. A considerable change in the method of suicide is also noted in the study. There was a dramatic increase in suicide rates by firearms, poisoning, and suffocation/hanging; with suffocation/hanging suicide rates increasing the most among individuals age 35-64.
The study suggests that the recent economic downturn is a possible contributing factor for the increase in suicide rates among middle-aged individuals, noting that historically higher suicide rates have been observed during periods of economic hardship.
Although the report does not explicate why exactly suicide rates among middle-aged individuals have increased. It does point out that most suicide prevention efforts have focused on youths and older adults, further highlighting the need and importance of suicide prevention efforts geared towards middle-aged individuals 35-64.
The authors describe some of these efforts as focusing on strategies that help middle-aged individuals overcome certain risk factors, such as economic challenges, job loss, health issues, substance abuse, and stress related to partner problems or caregiver responsibilities.
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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