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Special Report: Suicide — A Growing National Crisis?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The suicide deaths of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade have left the nation in shock. Most of us can’t come close to relating to what would cause a person to want to take their own life.

A study on suicide — ironically released the same week as the deaths of Bourdain and Spade — by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is out. It says the suicide rate in this country has increased 30% since 1999.

Suicide isn’t partial. It crosses all age groups, all sexes, races and ethnic groups.

  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

  There were 44,965 suicides in 2016

  There are 13.45 suicides per 100,000 people

  For every successful — if we dare call it that — suicide there are 25 attempts

  Suicide costs the U.S. $69 billion annually

  Firearms account for 51% of suicides according to 2016 statistics

  Men die by suicide 3.53x more than women

  White males account for 70% of suicides

  The rate of suicide is highest during middle age

  White males of middle age commit the most suicides

 

In 2016:

  The highest U.S. suicide rate — 15.17 per 100,000 — are whites

  The second highest rate — 13.37 — is among American Indians and Alaska Natives Much lower and roughly similar rates are found among Asians — 6.62

  Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among African Americans — 6.03

 

Note that the CDC records Hispanic origin separately from the primary racial or ethnic groups of White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander, since individuals in all of these groups may also be Hispanic.

The most common methods of death by suicide:

  51.01% — firearms

  25.89% — suffocation including hanging

  14.90% — poisoning

 

The CDC’s lead researcher is Dr. Deborah Stone. She said suicide has been a focus of her agency for several years. “Knowing the rates were increasing, we [wanted to] look at state level increases and contributing factors. There were 25 states that had increases of more than 30% — that was a new finding for us,” Stone said.

The 25 states with 30% or more are in the West and the Midwest. The reason both sections have higher rates is because both are more rural than other areas. Stone says people in rural areas tend to be more isolated and isolation is a cause. She also notes the more rural parts of the U.S. are still recovering from the Great Recession.

Those states have also been hit hard by the opioid crisis.

Professor Julie Cerel runs the American Association of Suicidology. She said not having good reporting standards might account for the increase but also pointed out that there is a serious lack of funding for mental health research and preventative care.

“Our mental health systems are just really struggling across the country. In terms of training mental health professionals, we're not doing a great job,” the professor said while noting only 10 states mandate suicide prevention training for all health professionals.

Professor Cerel also brought up the elephant in the room: firearms. “The gun debate in the U.S. has been about the horrific school shootings, and we want to prevent those, but the vast majority of deaths from firearms are suicides,” she said.

Another huge cause of suicide is mental illness but the CDC says 54% of those committing suicide have shown no mental health issues.

Dr. Jerry Reed of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention said there is definitely a connection between mental illness and suicidal behavior but it is not just a mental health challenge. “Economic conditions or livelihood opportunities in decline could lead people to positions where they're at risk. We need to intervene in both mental and public health cases," Dr Reed noted.

Cerel agrees and said a lot of people diagnosed with mental illness neither take their own life nor make an attempt. “It's not a simplistic 'they have mental issues, they killed themselves. Whether [officials] think it's mental health or not is based on a box on the forms that a medical examiner checks. If they have no family members to talk to at the scene, they have no idea if mental health was the case. Some coroners go back and do a thorough investigation, some don’t,” she said.

Besides mental illness there is loss, substance abuse, physical health, jobs and legal problems to list as causes. “If we focus just on one thing we're really missing some of the people who are potentially at risk," she added.

And that leads to an important question. What do you do when things go wrong? “If things go bad in your life, what do you do? Are there things you can do to distract yourself in the moment? Can you look at pictures of your kids or watch funny cat videos? Those funny cat videos can't keep someone alive, but they can calm people down to then use other coping strategies," Cerel said.

The most important thing a person should do is get into therapy and get help from a mental health professional. For some people, she says, “feeling connected and feeling like they belong are really important things.”

Dr. Reed agrees. “We have to get the whole community involved — not just the health care community. We’re a nation that needs to recognize that isolation.”

 

As an FYI here are the suicide rates in the nine PIA Western Alliance States. Note five of the nine states are in the top-10 highest rated states in the U.S.:

Alaska: Suicide cost Alaska $226.875 million or an average of $1,383,382 per suicide

  #2 in the U.S.

  193 deaths in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 25.37

  2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-44

  5th leading cause of death for ages 45-54

  7th leading cause of death for ages 55-64

  16th leading cause of death for ages 65 and up

 

Arizona: Suicide cost Arizona $1.246 billion or $1,139,987 per suicide

  #17 in the U.S.

  1,271 deaths in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 17.59

  2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-34

  3rd leading cause of death for ages 35-44

  5th leading cause of death for ages 55-64

  15th leading cause of death for ages 65 and up

 

California: Suicide cost California $4.246 billion or $1,085,227 per suicide

  #45 in the U.S.

  4,294 deaths in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 10.46

  3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24

  2nd leading cause of death for ages 25-34

  4th leading cause of death for ages 35-44

  5th leading cause of death for ages 45-55

  8th leading cause of death for ages 55-64

  16th leading cause of death for ages 65 & older

 

Idaho: Suicide cost Idaho $329,244,000 or $1,135,325 per suicide

  #7 in U.S.

  351 deaths in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 21.32

  2nd leading cause for ages 15-44

  4th leading cause for ages 45-54

  8th leading cause for ages 55-64

  15th leading cause for ages 65 & older

 

Montana: Suicide costs Montana $253.380,000 a year or $1,116,213 per suicide

  #1 in the U.S.

  267 deaths in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 26.01

  2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-44

  5th leading cause of death for ages 45-54

  7th leading cause of death for ages 55-64

  18th leading cause of death for ages 65 & older

 

Nevada: Suicide costs Nevada $593,140,000 a year or $1,084,351 per suicide

  #6 in the U.S.

  650 deaths in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 21.41

  3rd leading cause for ages 15-24

  2nd leading cause for ages 25-34

  3rd leading cause for ages 35-44

  4th leading cause for ages 45-54

  8th leading cause for ages 55-64

  12th leading cause for ages 65 & older

 

New Mexico: Suicide costs New Mexico $506,888,000 per year or $1,227,332 per suicide

  #4 in the U.S.

  471 suicides in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 22.49

  2nd leading cause for ages 15-44

  5th leading cause for ages 45-54

  7th leading cause for ages 55-64

  14th leading cause for ages 65 & older

 

Oregon: Suicide costs Oregon $740,356,000 per year or $1,080,811 per suicide

  #16 in the U.S.

  772 suicides in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 17.79

  2nd leading cause for ages 15-34

  3rd leading cause for ages 35-44

  5th leading cause for ages 45-54

  8th leading cause for ages 55-64

  15th leading cause for ages 65 & older

 

Washington: Suicide costs Washington $1,114 billion per year or 1,164,509 per suicide

  #26 in the U.S.

  1,141 suicides in 2016

  Average per 100,000: 14.83

  2nd leading cause for ages 15-34

  4th leading cause for ages 35-44

  5th leading cause for ages 45-54

  8th leading cause for ages 55-64

  16th leading cause for ages 65 & older

 

It is important to call someone if you feel suicidal or if you know someone who is suicidal. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s toll free number has someone answering 24/7: 1-800-273-8255

 

Source links: BBC, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Special Report: Suicide — A Growing National Crisi  Weekly Industry News 

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