The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported yesterday that suicide rate among middle-aged Americans has risen substantially since 1999. CDC investigated suicide trends among U.S. adults aged 35 to 64 by gender and other demographic characteristics, state of residence, and mechanism of injury using data from its Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System. Annual suicide rates for this age group increased 28 percent over this period, with particularly large increases among non-Hispanic whites and American Indians/Alaska Natives. Increases in suicide rates among both men and women were also found for suicides involving hanging/suffocation, poisoning, and firearms. The suicide rates for those aged 10 to 34 and those aged 65 and older did not change significantly since 1999, the report said.
The CDC noted that most suicide research and prevention efforts have focused historically on youth and the elderly. This report’s findings suggest that efforts should also focus on the needs of middle-aged individuals. "Although the analysis in this report does not explain why suicide rates are increasing so substantially among middle-aged adults, the results underscore the importance of prevention strategies that address the needs of persons aged 35–64 years, which includes the baby-boomer cohort. Prevention efforts are particularly important for this cohort because of its size, history of elevated suicide rates, and movement toward older adulthood, the period of life that has traditionally been associated with the highest suicide rates," the CDC said.
The full report, published in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is posted here.
Read about recent research that is shedding light on factors that may increase suicide risk and point the way to prevention targets in Psychiatric News here and here. Also read about development of a national suicide prevention agenda in Psychiatric Services.