Suicide Rates among Financially Stressed Middle-Aged Americans Have Increased by 40 Percent

Suicide has become a popular recourse among middle-aged Americans who are struggling to meet ends met. The rates increased by almost 40% beginning in 1990. A was study published Friday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine links that upswing to the economic debacle of 2007 to 2009.

“Relative to other age groups, a larger and increasing proportion of middle-aged suicides have circumstances associated with job, financial, or legal distress and are completed using suffocation,” study authors Katherine A. Hempstead, PhD, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in Princeton, N.J., and the Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University, and Julie A. Phillips, of the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, in New Brunswick, N.J., explained in a news release.

Researchers were able to determine that financial troubles were the reason for almost 38 percent for all successful suicides in 2010 as opposed to 32.9 percent in 2005, according to the released information. The most common form of suicide involves suffocation. This is used by individuals who suffer from money problems, which increased by approximately 60 percent among those whose aged 40 to 64 years between 2005 and 2010. For those aged 15 to 39, the increase rate of suicide was 27.2. Loss of retirement money may have been the main reason for the increase in suicide rates among older adults, explained the researchers.

“The sharpest increase in external circumstances appears to be temporally related to the worst years of the Great Recession, consistent with other work showing a link between deteriorating economic conditions and suicide,” researchers wrote.

Study authors culled their data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), which contains information on violent deaths from medical examiner and coroner reports, toxicology reports, law enforcement records, death certificates and the like. They utilized these records to identify 17 different suicide conditions and four criteria which has something to do with planning and purpose.

Researchers called for greater understanding with regards to various financial setbacks which can lead to suicides, and recommended employee assistance programs, as well as human resource departments and credit counselors to be on the lookout for people who might be candidates for suicides and make proper recommendations immediately, according to the news release.

“Increasing access to crisis counseling and other mental health services on an emergency basis— as is often provided at times of natural disaster— should also be considered in the context of economic crises,” the study authors said.



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