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White Male Suicide Rate spikes

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  • White Male Suicide Rate spikes

    Interesting article from Health magazine I wanted to share. I have lost two friends in my college days from suicide so I am acutely aware of the problem. Dealing with the anxiety of financial and career worries is not something we should take lightly in my opinion.

    U.S. Suicide on Rise: Middle-Aged at Risk

    By Theresa Tamkins
    TUESDAY, Oct. 21 ( — After a decade-long decrease, U.S. suicide rates have started to rise, largely due to an increase in suicides among middle-aged white men and women.
    Whites age 40 to 64 have “recently emerged as a new high-risk group for suicide,” according to the study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
    Suicides increased between 1999 and 2005 by about 3% annually in white men and 4% in white women age 40 to 64, according to Susan Baker, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and her colleagues. Suicide rates remained the same in Asians and Native Americans, and declined in blacks.
    Overall, the suicide rate rose in the early 1980s, then dropped each year from 1986 to 1999. From 1999 to 2005, however, the rates have increased 0.7% annually.
    In all, 32,637 people killed themselves in the United States in 2005, a rate of 11 per 100,000 people.
    Guns are the most common method of suicide, but their use has declined over time. Suicide by hanging or suffocation has increased among both men and women.
    The reason for the increase is unknown. But if economic conditions continue to decline, suicides could go up. “This is a concern, especially when one looks at the high rates during the Great Depression,” says Baker.
    Seetal Dodd, PhD, a senior fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia, has found that suicide rates tend to fluctuate with the economic trends—at least in men.
    The study is cause for concern, Dodd says, because it identifies middle-aged white men as the new high-risk group for suicide—the same section of the population at risk for suicide during an economic downturn.
    “There is a considerable risk that the current economic situation may result in a further spike in the suicide rate for men of working age, especially if we start to see an increase in unemployment and a decrease in housing affordability and consumer sentiment,” Dodd says.
    Robert Bossarte, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester in New York, says that people have traditionally focused on suicide prevention in the very young and the old—but not necessarily the middle-aged. Historically, people over 65 have had the highest suicide rates, but this study suggests that trend is changing.
    “The most important take-home message is try to understand what’s unique about the [middle-aged] population and what message would be most effective at preventing this,” he says.
    A number of factors could be affecting the middle-aged, including taking care of aging baby-boomer parents, or coping with substance abuse or unemployment.
    Bossarte also notes that while rates are rising in women, men are at greater risk overall.
    “There’s something unique about the life circumstances of white, middle-aged males that is contributing to this risk,” he says. “The key is getting people into treatment and getting people to use the resources that are available to them.”

    Comments (21)
    The following content represents the opinions of users. It is not editorially reviewed for medical or factual accuracy. It does not constitute medical advice. See your doctor for medical advice.
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    • whrldps
      I’m 42 and starting a new career. I am stressed about keeping my temp job. I have no health insurance and worry about saving for retirement. I worry about social security, medicare, the environment, the wars, and the deficit. With the outcome unknown I don’t feel safe and secure. I get depressed about my future prospects. I have thought about suicide but keep trying to live.
    • Doug
      Well stay strong. The future is not always where we need to look. Your not alone and we all have to stick together, even when half the time we don’t have the emotional strength to even keep our heads up, we can all together on this.
      Good luck.
    • Doug
      ‘are all together on this’
    • miguel
      whrldps, don’t think. Just do it!
    • Autoworker
      Worried about future prospects? I’m an autoworker for 10 years, their is nothing to look forward to for us anymore. I am barely hanging on to sanity. Hang tough buddy. America will pull through. And so will you and I.
    • goldfishy
      whrldps - if you’re not busy, rent Hannah and Her Sisters. I just watched it for the first time tonight. Might be interesting for you to watch.
    • dinendash
      One day at a time my friend. A lot of what is troubling you is entirely out of your control. Take stock of what you do have control over.
    • Elliot
      I am 15, and I knew a middle aged bipolar man that killed himself when i was at his house last summer. I have thought about suicide before, and just recently broke up with my girlfriend, so it’s even harder. Plus I suffer with depression. I pray that everyone will try to hold on for the good things in life. I may not know any of you, but I hope the best for everyone.
    • Plantaganda
      “…and I thought to myself: join the Army! It’s free!”
    • justin
      suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. we all hurt, we’ve all been there. please find a way to love yourself and respect yourself not to do something so drastic. nobody can save you, but yourself. take ownership of your life and strive towards a positive life one small step at a time. you are loved!
    • helpful
      Miguel, what a horrible thing to suggest.
      whrldps, a lot of people are in your boat. I just turned 40 and just started a new career as well, and will probably have to take a second job to pay off credit card debt. I do have health insurance (thank god.)
      We have to support and encourage each other on this planet, or what’s the point of it all?
    • brazil
      do not eat so much processed food, be less materialit, enjoy friends and family, beleive in something… travel (to Brazil for example), meet new people, new cultures, don’t work so much, live your life.
    • No Reason
      I’ve sometimes considered suicide, but I’ve realized the problem is it provides no satisfaction: You don’t even get to see the world go on without you, much less get to see whether anyone is sorry you’re not around anymore. You just take yourself out of the picture. Believe it or not, the world will not crumble in your absence. Nor will it be a better place without you. You’re probably stronger and tougher than you think. Hang in there. Don’t you want to see how the movie comes out?
    • Drew
      Few people suicide for the satisfaction of it. The fact that you don’t get to see people regret your death probably has little to do with one’s desire to commit suicide. It’s an escape from the punishment of the world, not a way to punish the world.
    • Andrew
      Love others, and love yourself. There are more important things than your 401k or whatever political event might be going on. There is someone out there who loves you.
    • rico
    • JIm jones
      So sad. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem!
    • Nog
      With population high on this planet, I don’t understand why the consensus is that suicide is a mistake, at least for middle-aged and older. Obviously not right for the young. I am middle-aged and depressed, but not suicidal. Some people have lives of nonstop “temporary” problems. Also, there are not marvelous resources available as some claim.
    • JayjayToo
      It’s interesting to note that worrying about health care is one of the factors leading some to suicidal thoughts. If ever there was an argument for universal health care (like we sort of have in Australia), this is it.
    • mit
      Funny, I was ready to dangle off the balcony last week but I changed my mind. Today actually I realized that in those moments I let my thoughts and emotions proceed with auto-self-destruct, where in reality I do have the say in how I feel at any moment. Being the king of your own castle has a more profound meaning now. Wish you all a long fulfilling life.
    • tzvete
      Suicide has been a very large problem for Japan for a very long time. There are been several steps taken by the Japanese government and other private organizations to try to help people so they don’t commit suicide.

    Last edited by das; 10-23-2008, 06:22 AM.