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Suicides on the rise for aging boomers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a sad and troubling report today.

Suicide deaths rose fairly dramatically, across the entire country, for all age groups, but especially for aging boomers.

The report does not analayze why. But now that this sobering report is out, I expect the theories will begin.

Some of the findings:

  • From 1999 to 2010, the age-adjusted suicide rate for adults aged 35–64 years in the United States increased significantly by 28.4 percent — from 13.7 per 100,000 population to 17.6.
  • The suicide rate for men aged 35–64 years increased 27.3 percent — from 21.5 to 27.3, and the rate for women increased 31.5 percent from 6.2 to 8.1
  •  Among men, the greatest increases were among those aged 50–54 years and 55–59 years, (49.4 percent — from 20.6 to 30.7, and 47.8 percent — from 20.3 to 30.0, respectively).
  • Among women, suicide rates increased with age, and the largest percentage increase in suicide rate was observed among women aged 60–64 years (59.7 percent from 4.4 to 7.0).
  • Firearms and suffocation were the most common mechanisms for men; poisoning and firearms were the most common mechanisms for women
  • From 1999 to 2010, suicides by suffocation increased from 18 percent to 24 percent of all suicides for men and from 12 percent to 18 percent of all suicides for women.

Suicides Spiking in Idaho, West

Suicide is on the increase in rural America—nowhere so much as in western mountain states like Idaho, Wyoming and New Mexico. Mental health professionals attribute it in part to cutbacks in Medicaid funding, to the recession and to the culture of the rural West. In Idaho, somebody kills himself every 35 hours, according to a 2009 report to Idaho's governor by the state's Council on Suicide Prevention. Their report calls suicide “a major public health issue” having a “devastating effect” on Idaho's families, churches, businesses and even schools: 65 students aged 10 and 18 killed themselves in a recent five-year period. Last week a county sheriff in Bonneville told the Idaho Falls Post Register that his department was getting more suicide calls than in 2010—a year in which 290 Idahoans took their own lives. “We're in a spike right now,” he says/Alan Farnham, ABC News. More here. (AP file illustration)

Question: Story goes on to link hike in Idaho suicides to Medicaid cuts. Do you think there's a link?

The sadness of suicides

Was just reading Cathy's post below when the police scanners in the newsroom started screaming with activity, sirens and lots of voices. A woman just jumped from the Monroe Street Bridge, a block or two away from The Spokesman-Review building.

We only report suicides when it is done in a public manner, such as a bridge jump. But our scanners tell a bigger story. We often hear of police being called to a home where a person has killed himself or herself — and many, many calls of people attempting suicide.

As the CDC recently reported:

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are important public health concerns in the United States. In 2008, a total of 36,035 persons died as a result of suicide, and approximately 666,000 persons visited hospital emergency departments for nonfatal, self-inflicted injuries.

As children in Catholic school, we were taught to say the “Hail Mary” when we heard fire and ambulance sirens. I wonder, what is an appropriate response when you hear suicide attempts over the police scanner at work?

Eek! Ack! It’s a Suicidal Bunny!

Suicide. It’s horrible, It’s tragic. It’s…awesomely hilarious, if you are reading Andy Riley’s Book of Bunny Suicides. It’s filled with various ways the bunny kills himself. A bunny with the toaster in the kitchen, anyone?

Really, the book is funny. But I guess it didn’t meet the passing grade of an Oregon mom, as she demanded it be removed from her son’s high school library. In this Seattle Times story, the angry mom says “It is a comic book, but that’s not funny. Not at all.”

Have you read the book? Do you find it offensive? Would your parents find it offensive?