The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed a startling 28% in the last decade as the rates in younger and older people held steady. This period dominated by two stock market crashes, a real-estate crash, and a hyper-repressive Fed saw a stunning 40% surge in the suicide rate among 35-64 year old white men and women (with non-Caucasian rates steady). 39 out of 50 states registered a statistically significant increase in suicide rates among the middle-aged.
Suicide prevention efforts have tended to concentrate on teenagers and the elderly, but research over the past several years has begun to focus on the middle-aged. As AP reports, the CDC report contained surprising information about how middle-aged people kill themselves: During the period studied, hangings overtook drug overdoses in that age group, becoming the No. 2 manner of suicide. But guns remained far in the lead and were the instrument of death in nearly half of all suicides among the middle-aged.
During the 11-year period studied, suicide went from the eighth leading cause of death among middle-aged Americans to the fourth, behind cancer, heart disease and accidents. Today's payrolls data will do little to lift the spirits of the middle-aged worker; we live in cruel and unusual times.