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Middle-aged suicides on the rise

8th June 2010

Middle-aged adults in the US are beginning to have the highest suicide rates in the country.

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Paula Clayton, the medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said that the increase was among people born in the 1950s and 1960s, and that it was probably the result of several different factors.

She said that easier access to guns and prescription drugs could have something to do with the increased suicide rate, because it would affect people's susceptibility to depression.

Although the eldest segment of the US population, people aged 80 and over, has historically had the highest suicide rate, that changed several years ago.

Now, middle-aged men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 have the highest suicide rate in the US.

Clayton said that 90% of people who end up killing themselves had mental disorders which were aggravated by drug and alcohol abuse.

The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) said that problems with people's health, problems with their jobs, and problems with their relationships were also important factors in suicide cases.

The most recent suicide data shows that 17.6 in every 100,000 middle-aged people committed suicide in the US.

By comparison, people whose ages ranged between 75 and 84 had a suicide rate of 16.4 per 100,000.

Generally, men were more than three times as likely to commit suicide than women.

People of Native American descent, as well as people who had been in wars, seemed to have the greatest vulnerability to suicide.

Suicide is counted as a violence-related death in the US, and where it accounts for more than half of all such deaths.

Clayton also linked the international financial crisis to suicide.

She said that there were data to substantiate a relationship between unemployment and suicide.

 


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