Suicide rates among middle-aged linked to Great Recession
Middle-aged people are especially vulnerable to suicide in times of economic and financial distress, according to a new Rutgers study.
The study found that the Great Recession that began in 2007 led to a jump in suicide rates among those ages 40 to 64. The suicide rate among the middle-aged has increased by 40 percent since 1999.
"Earlier studies noted a correlation between economic conditions and suicide," said Katherine Hempstead, study co-author and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "But this study used a unique data set that provides detailed information about circumstances surrounding individual suicides. We can see that there is an increasing share of suicides among middle-aged people where financial or economic distress is cited as a contributing factor."
According to the study, external economic factors were present in 37.5 percent of all suicides in 2010 which was up five percentage points from 2005.
"We saw a rise in suicides from 32 percent to about 40 percent from 2005 to 2010 among the middle-aged which didn't happen in other age groups," said Katherine Hempstead, study co-author and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The number of suicides from hanging among the middle-aged also showed a 59.5 percent increase between 2005 and 2010.
"This suggests that many of these suicides may have been impulsive, because hanging is a method that people can complete without having a lot of advanced planning and most people can find access to things they would need to complete that. Hanging is definitely a method we associate with impulsive suicides," Hempstead said.
The takeaway in terms of prevention is that people who are interacting with people who may be getting laid off or going into foreclosure have an opportunity to intervene, according to Hempstead.
According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 38,364 suicides in 2010 in the U.S., an average of 105 each day. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in 2010.
To see the study in its entirety, click here.