Suicides in the US continue to rise.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a record 120,000 Americans died from suicides and related self-destructive causes in 2017.” – Yes! Magazine
For a long time it was easy to characterize suicides as something that happened to young people as they struggle with growing up and maturing, and and something that happened to older people as they struggle with aging issues. Those trends changed around 2000 as 25-64 year olds became the group with the most likelihood of suicide. That middle group’s surge accelerated about four years ago. One explanation is based on cultural changes. Older generations tend to live in communities of similar people who continue to live with the familiar attitudes from the Baby Boom era. Younger generations are more familiar with change and haven’t had to live through dramatic changes in social issues: human rights, changes in the nature of political discourse, events like the Vietnam War. The people in the middle are witnessing the passage of the world they were raised to live and work in, while also being stressed by accelerating change. Suicide is personal. Each decision can be unique. Grouping the deaths into data requires many assumptions because many suicides happen without explanation. Regardless, anything that kills over 120,000 people in a nation like the US is worth countering, including increasing resources like budgeting for mental health care. Anything that stresses any person to such a point that they want to take such an action suggests a personal level of listening and compassion, something that may only cost time, awareness, and asking and caring about how someone is doing.