Suicide rate skyrockets among middle-aged Americans

The number of middle-aged Americans who committed suicide has dramatically risen by 28 per cent in the past decade, surpassing even the deaths caused by road accidents, according to latest official figures.

US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said suicide is an increasing public health concern.

The number of deaths from suicide surpassed the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the US, in 2009.

In 2010 alone motor vehicle accidents killed 33,687 people, while 38,364 people died from suicides.

Traditionally, suicide prevention efforts have been focused mostly on youths and older adults, but recent evidence suggests that there have been substantial increases in suicide rates among middle-aged adults in the US.

To investigate trends in suicide rates among adults aged 35–64 years over the last decade, CDC analysed National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) mortality data from 1999–2010.

Trends in suicide rates were examined by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, state and region of residence, and mechanism of suicide.

The results of this analysis indicated that the annual, age-adjusted suicide rate among
persons aged 35–64 years increased 28.4 per cent, from 13.7 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 17.6 in 2010.

Among racial/ethnic populations, the greatest increases were observed among American Indian/Alaska Natives (65.2 per cent, from 11.2 to 18.5) and whites (40.4 per cent, from 15.9 to 22.3).

By mechanism, the greatest increase was observed for use of suffocation, followed by poisoning and firearms. The findings underscore the need for suicide preventive measures directed toward middle-aged populations.

CDC used the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System to compile NVSS data on suicides reported during 1999–2010 among US residents aged more than 10 years.

Trends in age-adjusted suicide rates from 1999, when signs of an increase began, through 2010, the latest data available, were analysed for adults aged 35–64 years by sex and mechanism of suicide.

The three most common suicide mechanisms were firearms, poisoning, and suffocation.

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