Suicide rates in the United States are on an upward trajectory. In the past decade, the rate has skyrocketed a whopping 30 percent.
In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans took their own lives, making suicide the tenth leading cause of death. According to a sobering report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this figure reflects an overall 30 percent increase in the rate of suicides since 1999.
While researchers have proposed everything from social isolation to bullying as the reason the suicide rates are going up sharply, it’s still largely a mystery why rates are rising. It could even be the hopelessness of being stuck in a system that is increasingly favoring a ruling class, so those on the bottom feel like nothing more than poverty-stricken slaves. And the wealthy who commit suicide (such as the recently deceased Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain) appear to always know some of the same political elites (in this case, Hillary Clinton) constantly putting their boot on the throats of the poor. Of course, that’s all speculation on our part, but not in any way the type of dot connecting you’ll hear about on CNN or Fox News.
Twenty-five states across the United States saw suicide rates rise by more than 30 percent, and the Midwest region, in particular, appears to be in crisis. Those are the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Each showed increases from 38 to 58 percent. More than 48 percent of all decedents ended their life using a gun, probably because it’s the easiest and most pain-free way to attempt to take one’s own life.
According to IFL Science, research indicated that 54 percent of suicides occurred in individuals without known mental health conditions. The non-diagnosed cases were more likely to have recently gone through a personal crisis such as the death/loss of a loved one, a relationship problem, substance abuse, health-related problem, or financial hardship. Twenty percent of those with undiagnosed conditions and 15 percent with known conditions were serving in the military at the time of death.
“I think this gets back to what do we need to be teaching people — how to manage breakups, job stresses,” Christine Moutier, medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, told the Washington Post. “What are we doing as a nation to help people to manage these things? Because anybody can experience those stresses. Anybody.”
“If you think of [suicide] as other leading causes of death, like AIDS and cancer, with the public health approach, mortality rates decline,” Moutier said. “We know that the same approach can work with suicide.”
**If you or someone you know are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day. The service is available to anyone and all calls are confidential. Or you can visit their website here.
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