Dr. Henry Paul, MD

Psychiatrist, Author and Educator


April 26th, 2016

I was surprised by the latest CDC report out this week that showed suicide rates in the United States were at their highest level in three decades. The report released on Friday said that suicides have increased in the US to a rate of 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The increase is particularly pronounced among middle-age white people who now account for a third of all US suicides.

45274094_sAccording to the CDC study, more than 14,000 middle-aged white people killed themselves in 2014, and the overall suicide rate rose by 24% from 1999 to 2014. Among white men ages 45 to 64, the rate increased 43% and increased 63% for women in the same age-range. The study did not venture to say what the causes might be for the increase, but I think we can surmise that mental health, substance abuse and difficult economic times have contributed.

The study also showed a jump in the suicides amongst girls between the ages of 10 to 14. From 1999 to 2015 the number tripled from 50 to 150. This number is still very low but the fact that it tripled is a concern.

The study did show a decline for two groups; black men and seniors over age 75.

Robert D Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, told the New York Times, “This is part of the larger emerging pattern of evidence of the links between poverty, hopelessness and health.”

The New York Times also reported that since they ran their story last week, they had gotten an overwhelming response. If you need to speak with someone for yourself or a friend or loved one you can call:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: No matter what problems you are dealing with they want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7. This is a confidential, free call.

Crisis Text Line: They serve anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via the medium people already use and trust: text. According to their website this is how it works:

  1. Text 741-741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.
  2. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
    The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment
  3. As always, if this is an emergency and someone is in crisis you should call 911.

U.S. Suicide Rate Jumps to 30 Year High NY Times, April 2016
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Suicide is a Growing Epidemic in America Dr. Henry Paul Blog, November 2015

Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription.

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