It is common sense that when times are tough, such as in recessions, suicide rates increase. A recent study that analyzes data from 2000 – 2009 has seen the 25 percent increase of suicide, bringing it up to the number one cause of injury death, overcoming automobile deaths, which is down 25 percent, and also overcoming poisoning and murder.
“Economic problems can impact how people feel about themselves and their futures as well as their relationships with family and friends,” said Feijun Luo of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention. It is a fairly intuitive observation. The bills and taxes and other measures that seem disconnected to every day life actually have an effect on mortality. Of the 37,000 men and women who took their lives in 2009, many were responding to the cultural ambience and the frustration of the job market.
The highest death rates were found for people between the ages of 20-24 and over 65. About 90 percent of them had depression or drug addictions, and most of the deaths involved fire arms. Of the four main causes of injury deaths — suicide, car-crashes, poisoning, falls, and murder, men are more likely to die from each than are women. The trend also affects whites more than blacks and Hispanics.
2004 saw George Bush sign an Act for suicide prevention that is backed by $56 million in federal funds. This was to commemorate suicide victim Garrett Smith, son of U.S. Senator Gordon Smith, who said that “Our goal is, in the next five years, we will save 20,000 human lives. This issue touches nearly every family. It is something we can do something about. It’s the work of angels.”
The causes of suicidal ideation are complex and it is difficult to predict who is truly at risk, but if there is a doubt regarding a family member or friend, it is best to act on it — seeking expert advice.