Depending on your level of cynicism, a death can range anywhere from a tragedy to simply nothing. But that doesn’t mean that either extreme is right. If we view every death as a tragedy, we’d lose all emotional resources that allow us to vary on with our daily lives, and if we don’t care at all about any deaths it means that we a have a chemical imbalance in our brains that is probably making us psychopaths.
So we need to find a balance. And still, there are those deaths that weigh deeper than the usual. These are usually the deaths of people you love, the waste that is the death of young people, and last but not least, suicides. And boy, oh boy how suicide rates have gone up lately!
The numbers were surprising even for the biggest experts in the field, as a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that suicide is now the number ten cause of death in the United States. And unlike the other leading causes of death, it has only gone up in recent times.
In fact, the suicide rate rose by as much as 24 percent between 1999 and 2014. Even more worryingly, the increase accelerated to an average of 2 percent every year after 2006, where it used to be 1 percent prior to that.
According to the study, the rate is still much higher for men than for women, but the suicide rate for women has been climbing increasingly faster than that for men, steadily closing the gap. Between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate for men aged 45 to 64 rose by 59%, while that for women rose by 80%. Even worse, the rates have climbed pretty much across all age groups except for those aged 75 and older. This includes the age group of five to fourteen.
The experts came up with a number of explanations, but they are not convinced that either of them by themselves or combined could lead to such a drastic increase. For starters, the economic crisis in 2008 was definitely a contributing factor, and economic tumult is always a precursor to the rise of suicide rates.
Second of all, the increased abuse of painkillers and other drugs led to a huge number of overdoses these past years. But still, the explanations don’t really make up for the huge numbers. Other causes might be an increased difficulty in accessing therapeutic help, chronic medical problems, domestic violence, social dislocation and bullying.
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