Suicide in the United States

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Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, in America as of 2013, more people now die of suicide than in car accidents. In 2013, the total number of suicide deaths was 38,364. Historically, suicide rates rise during times of financial stress and economic setbacks.[1] In 2009 it was the 7th leading cause of death for males, and the 16th leading cause of death for females. Suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.[2] From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans 35 to 64 increased nearly 30 percent. The largest increases were among men in their 50s, a rates rising near 50 percent, or 30 per 100,000. For women, this was for women 60 to 64, whose rates rose 60 percent, to 7.0 per 100,000.[1] In 2008, it was observed that U.S. suicide rates, particularly among middle-aged white women, had increased, although the causes were unclear.[3] The government seeks to prevent suicides through its National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a collaborative effort of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Indian Health Service.[4] Their plan consists of 11 goals aimed at preventing suicides.[5] Older adults are disproportionately likely to die by suicide.[6]

Some U.S. jurisdictions have laws against suicide or against assisting suicide. In recent years, there has been increased interest on rethinking these laws.[7]

Suicide has been associated with tough economic conditions, including unemployment.[8]

Number of suicides by age group and gender[edit]

Number of suicides by age group and sex. USA, 2005.[9]
Age (years) 5 - 14 15 - 24 25 - 34 35 - 44 45 - 54 55 - 64 65 - 74 75+ All
Males 204 3489 4059 5053 5257 3241 1935 2603 25848
Females 68 713 922 1483 1719 954 403 448 6711
Both 272 4202 4981 6536 6976 4195 2338 3051 32533

Murder–suicide[edit]

There have been many high-profile incidents in the United States in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s of individuals committing "suicide by cop" or killing others before killing themselves. Examples include the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, the 2010 Austin plane crash and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Rates compared to other countries[edit]

Trend of suicide deaths from 1960 to 2007 for the nations of Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.


Subgroups[edit]

A United States Army suicide prevention poster

A 2009 U.S. Army report indicates military veterans have double the suicide rate of non-veterans, and more active-duty soldiers are dying from suicide than in combat in the Iraq War (2003-2011) and War in Afghanistan (2001–present).[10] Colonel Carl Castro, director of military operational medical research for the Army noted "there needs to be a cultural shift in the military to get people to focus more on mental health and fitness."[11]

Suicide rates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and adults in the U.S. are three times higher than national averages.[12] According to some groups, this is linked to heterocentric cultures and institutionalised homophobia in some cases, including the use of LGBTQ people as a political wedge issue, such as in the contemporary efforts to halt legalizing same-sex marriages.[13] Many tie bullying, including cyberbullying to suicides of LGBTQ youth. Singer Lady Gaga has been outspoken on these issues, and has met U.S. President Barack Obama to urge that bullying of this nature be declared a hate crime.[14] Founded in 1998 to address suicide among LGBT youth, The Trevor Project has enlisted a variety of celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Daniel Radcliffe,[15] Neil Patrick Harris,[16] James Marsden,[17] Chris Colfer,[18] Kim Kardashian,[19] Darren Criss,[20] Dianna Agron,[21] George Takei,[22] and Anderson Cooper.[23] They use National Suicide Prevention Week to launch new initiatives and campaigns utilizing their celebrity supporters.[24] The project was founded by the Academy Award-winning filmmakers of Trevor, about a gay thirteen-year-old boy who attempts suicide when his friends reject him because of his sexuality.[25] The filmmakers realized that some of the program's viewers might be facing the same kind of crisis as Trevor, and not finding a helpline for LGBTQ youth they created one.[25] The Trevor Lifeline is the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b TARA PARKER-POPE (May 2013). "Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.". 
  2. ^ "NIMH · Suicide in the U.S.: Statistics and Prevention". Nimh.nih.gov. doi:10.1136/ip.2005.010850. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Suicide Rate Increases". Jhsph.edu. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  4. ^ "Suicide Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration". Mentalhealth.samhsa.gov. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  5. ^ "Substance Abuse and Mental Health Publications| SAMHSA Store". Mentalhealth.samhsa.gov. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  6. ^ Tuesday, 17 February 2009 12:05 (2009-02-17). "In Harm's Way: Suicide in America - MHM: Suicide". Mental-health-matters.com. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  7. ^ Engelhardt, H. Tristram Jr.; Malloy, Michele (1982–1983), Suicide and Assisting Suicide: A Critique of Legal Sanctions 36, Sw. L.J., p. 1003 
  8. ^ DS Hamermesh, NM Soss (1974), An economic theory of suicide, The journal of political economy 
  9. ^ [World health organization Country report for the USA http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/unitstates.pdf]
  10. ^ Woods, Tyler (September 7, 2009). "This Week Is National Suicide Prevention Week". Emax Health. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Jelinek, Pauline (September 5, 2008). "Army: soldier suicide rate may set record again". USA Today/Associated Press. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Melin, Amy (September 11, 2008). "AFSP walkathon raises suicide awareness". Western Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  13. ^ National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Tackles LGBT Suicide, (April 26, 2012), Kellan Baker and Josh Garcia, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
  14. ^ Michaels, Sean (September 23, 2011). "Lady Gaga to meet with Obama over bullying: Singer plans to discuss anti-bullying legislation with president following fan's suicide". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Barnard, Linda (November 19, 2010). "Happy as Harry; A Grown-up Daniel Radcliffe Talks Bras, Girlfriends, Fame and New Opportunities as He Reflects on a Decade Playing the Boy Wizard". Toronto Star. p. E.1. 
  16. ^ "Neil Patrick Harris' Message to Gay Youth," October 3, 2010 on YouTube
  17. ^ Estrada, Nora Alicia (December 7, 2010). "Dicen no al suicidio". Mural (in Spanish) (Guadalajara, Mexico). p. 2. 
  18. ^ Moore, John (October 19, 2010). "Celebrities Flooding Internet with Anti-Gay Bullying Posts". Charleston Daily Mail. p. B.10. 
  19. ^ "Kim Kardashian Donates $50,000 to The Trevor Project". January 24, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Darren Criss performs "Not Alone" at Trevor Live," December 13, 2010 on YouTube
  21. ^ The Trevor Project: Dianna Agron Birthday Project
  22. ^ "George Takei Calls Out Anti-Gay Arkansas School Board Member," November 1, 2010 on YouTube
  23. ^ "Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz to compete on 'Jeopardy' Power Players Week". 
  24. ^ Marc Malkin; Brett Malec (September 1, 2011). "Glee Star Kevin McHale Talks to Troubled Gay Youths". E! Online. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  25. ^ a b "History of The Trevor Project". The Trevor Project. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  26. ^ Staff (October 13, 1998). "Trevor Lends a 24-Hour Ear to Youth". The Advocate (via Google Books). p. 14. Retrieved August 1, 2011. "...the nation's first toll-free 24-hour suicide prevention hot line for gay and questioning youth."