Suicide Up Among Middle-Aged Adults, CDC Finds

Health & Fitness

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Suicide has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as a cause of death for middle-aged adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Since 1999, the report says that suicide deaths in this age group have increased by 28 percent (32 percent for women and 27 percent for men), with 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides reported in 2010.

Interestingly, the report found that the suicide rate among those aged 10 to 34 and those aged 65 and over did not change significantly over the same time period.

Still, CDC directors agree the report’s findings are indicative of the need for more prevention strategies.

“Suicide is a tragedy that is far too common,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The stories we hear of those who are impacted by suicide are very difficult.  This report highlights the need to expand our knowledge of risk factors so we can build on prevention programs that prevent suicide.”

Dr. Linda C. Degutis, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, echoed Frieden’s concern:

“The findings in this report suggest it is important for suicide prevention strategies to address the types of stressors that middle-aged Americans might be facing and that can contribute to suicide risk.”

Other significant findings in the CDC report:

  • The greatest increases in suicide rates were among people aged 50 to 54 years (48 percent) and 55 to 59 years (49 percent).
  • Among racial/ethnic groups, the greatest increases in suicide rates were among white non-Hispanics (40 percent) and American Indian and Alaska Natives (65 percent).
  • Suicide rates increased 23 percent or more across all four major regions of the United States.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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