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United States Medicine

Suicide Rates Are Up 30 Percent Since 1999, CDC Says ( 477

New submitter Austerity Empowers writes: Amidst all the name calling and straw man arguments about the overall health of America, sometimes it helps to look at data from people who sacrificed everything based on their perception of reality. Whatever politics you subscribe to, the feeling of hopelessness is evidently real, and frightening. NBC News: "Suicide rates are up by 30 percent across the nation since 1999, federal health officials reported Thursday. And only about half the people who died by suicide had a known mental health condition, even though depression had been thought to be the major cause of suicide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. While many cases of mental illness may have been diagnosed, the CDC also noted that relationship stress, financial troubles and substance abuse were contributing to the trends."

Suicide Rates Are Up 30 Percent Since 1999, CDC Says

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  • How surprising,... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) *

    Really? Who could have guessed.

    The division between the rich and poor, is without a question, worse than it was in 1999.
    Hope is fading out for the middle and lower class. The middle class becomes smaller, soon to be just "the poors and the rich"

    On top of this, the world is straight the fuck up, dying. We're not working towards protecting it very well, we're not working towards replacing it (finding a new one elsewhere)

    Then we have the internet, it's giving the poor access to see what's going on in the wor

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Alcoholism and other drug abuse. Numb out enough and the body gives out. There's a huge problem with that in areas of the country that have been in economic decline.

    • by novakyu ( 636495 ) <> on Friday June 08, 2018 @06:40AM (#56748382) Homepage

      This is the most ignorant thing I have read this year so far. Everybody knows that the poor do not commit suicide at higher rates [].

      • I'm not talking about the poor, I'm talking about those who were middle and upper middle or the chidlren of middle / upper middle, seeing "oh fuck, shit I'm going to be poorer than my parents"

        • It's hard to imagine someone feeling depressed enough to kill themselves simply because they're poorer than their parents. And BTW, that has been going on since Generation X, it didn't just start in 1999.

          I would suggest there are more relevant factors, which may or may not have contributed, including:

          - Increased financial difficulties for the bottom 98%. Wages haven't kept up with inflation after all, although I don't see the CoL as being much higher today than it was in 2012
          - Increased complexity of

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ] ['rld' in gap]> on Friday June 08, 2018 @07:55AM (#56748636) Homepage Journal

            People who are born into poverty are used to it and can see that other people somehow cope. When people have been comfortable for their whole lives and then a financial crash hits and end up with nothing, and don't have the mental tools to cope with that loss and uncertainty and angst and anger... That's what causes depression.

            • Suicide is a luxury of the well to do. When all you value is wealth, and that is taken from you, of course you're prone to depression and driven to suicide.

              Life is a struggle, those that live in struggle understand this, and are able to cope. People who have never struggled don't understand that this world is brutal and nobody gets out alive. They don't have the skills needed to survive the struggle, and the world eats those people first.

          • I'd argue they're full of shit, that depression - a condition characterized by lethargy and an unwillingness to take risks - is the brain's way of preventing you (well, discouraging you) from committing suicide, which is why the two are correlated - people who aren't considering killing themselves or otherwise doing something self destructive are in no need of that self defense mechanism.

            While I normally agree with your posts and I do agree with everything in the beginning of this post, I vehemently disagr

        • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @08:21AM (#56748760)

          I'm not talking about the poor, I'm talking about those who were middle and upper middle or the chidlren of middle / upper middle, seeing "oh fuck, shit I'm going to be poorer than my parents"

          Offspring that are poorer than their parents is not a new phenomenon. Drive and success are not a lock between generations, in some cases, the opposite is true. I came from poor stock, but blessed or cursed with drive, I far outpaced them.

          As well, in many cases, these parents only looked more wealthy. The children of the 80's and 90's were often living in families that had pretend wealth - maxed out credit cards, refinanced homes to buy that Escalade, flat or no savings.

          It was the middle class playing rich, and it all blew up around them.

          But experiencing being poor as well as being wealthy, I wasn't unhappy at all being poor.I had no intention to stay poor, but I wasn't even upset, much less suicidal. If young people today are committing suicide because of their financial situation not being that of their parents - we have failed them by teaching them that money is the only source of happiness, and without it, life is nt worth living.

          As for my theory, I lay a lot of blame on the self esteem movement. I saw a lot of Millennials crashing and burning when they found out the world links self esteem with actual achievements, not something inculcated in a person for no other reason than thinking that they are the most important person in the whole wide world.

        • I'm not talking about the poor, I'm talking about those who were middle and upper middle or the chidlren of middle / upper middle, seeing "oh fuck, shit I'm going to be poorer than my parents"

          No offence, but that's utter bollocks. It is not only logically absurd, it is psychologically farcical.

          If you're the sort of person who bases their idea of happiness solely on how much money you've got, you're the sort of person who will do something about making money, not top yourself. Virtually anyone can do two jobs and live a frugal lifestyle if they're really that bothered just about acquiring money.

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @06:48AM (#56748406)
      The long-term suicide rate [] for the U.S. has fluctuated between about 10-14 per 100,000 over the last 40 years. 1999 was just the minimum, which the reporter cherry picked to try to turn this into a story. It's been higher in the past.

      Also, suicide rates have been climbing up throughout the world, not just in the U.S. Curiously, homicide rates also stopped the long-term decline around 2010 and started creeping up again. So average global temperature may actually be linked (violence and higher temperatures have been correlated in the past). But nobody really knows for sure why, and anyone who claims they do is just trying to spin the story to fit their preconceptions.
    • Quit whining and look at a graph of say the 1900 onward. Someone picked a year with a dip to invent fake news. The suicide rate had been going up and down and up again, so picking the recent minimum as a start date makes something that resonates with the made-up head canon you have. Meanwhile nothing out of the ordinary is happening

    • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @07:44AM (#56748598)

      No fucking shit suicides are up 30%, I have to wonder what % of the suicide people are actually mentally broken or just strong enough to say "you know what, fuck all this"

      Well, I suppose it is true that things have never ever been this bad, amirite?

      Never ever. This is the absolute worst time in history.

      Sarcasm aside, I can't help thinking that economic conditions don't have much to do with this. The overwhelming "cause" at 42 percent is relationship issues. Interestingly in the article, other than noting that cause, nothing was done to address it, only things like housing and programs to make people feel like they belong.

      We've had several around here that were people checking out after a divorce. I suppose there is a certain financial aspect to that - in all cases the suicidee had been financially destroyed, but no one around here has killed themselves because of not having a place to live.

      I'm pretty convinced that at times, suicide is just the simpler and more effective option.

    • Sad but true....

    • by ( 4475953 )

      Absolutely. Stress due to financial problems and lack of sleep can be major contributing factors.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      The division between the rich and poor, is without a question, worse than it was in 1999.

      Numerically, perhaps. Quality of life wise, not much has changed. There's some ludicrously rich folk by the numbers, but there's some weirdness in that rarified air that make the numbers not a straghtforward thing to interpret. This is a problem, but probably not a *personal* enough problem.

      On top of this, the world is straight the fuck up, dying. We're not working towards protecting it very well, we're not working towards replacing it (finding a new one elsewhere)

      Again, this isn't a personal item for people. In fact, on many fronts things are improving and very promising. Sustainable lumber is now the norm rather than the exception. Per-capita energy has gone down. Sustain

    • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @09:36AM (#56749194) Journal

      This is why suicides are up, I agree.
      Oh, not with your facts - your facts are almost entirely wrong, tendentious, or meaningless.
      What I'm pointing to is YOUR histrionic overreaction to asserted facts that make you think that "everything is terrible"...when in fact, despite what CNN is telling you 24/7: life in 2018 is pretty fucking great by every objective measure.

      "The division between the rich and poor, is without a question, worse than it was in 1999.": So? It's better than it was through the bulk of human history.

      "the world is straight the fuck up, dying" No, it isn't. Humans have likely overpopulated the planet, but believe me, there will be a correction. And the earth itself? Won't even notice. The earth's ecosystems have been through FAR more cataclysmic changes than humanity could ever inflict at our worst, and after some oscillations, has returned to a fairly stable norm. Yes, likely that correction will kill lots of people but TBH with 7000+ million on the planet, losing even 50-100 million really isn't as big a deal objectively as everyone makes it out to be. (Setting aside "every life is sacred" bullshit that nobody ACTUALLY believes except at their own convenience.)

      "Then we have the internet" which is basically the problem.

      "Co2 is up, heat is up", the paleoclimate has spiked both CO2 and temps regularly about every 120k-140k years ago. Last one was about...140k years ago. Really, aside from some postmodern ethnocentric narcissism that insists humans are the center of everything, this is normal.

      "methane bubbles are going off in siberia", happened before. There's clearly some feedback mechanism that reacts to send the climate plummeting again.

      "animals are dying out, bees are dying off" yep, adapt or die; that's how Darwin works. Of course, you're only talking about highly specialized megafauna in regards animals, which are a vanishingly tiny part of the earth's ecosystems. Bees? Try facts, instead of popculture hysteria. [] and []

      "America is slowly crumbling into debt." America has been plunging into debt (not slowly) since Vietnam. Think about that: we are the wealthiest society ever in human history, yet we STILL can't pay for everything we want to have. Evolution works by death, and a society so wedded to consumption beyond its means gets what it deserves.

      Violent crime is down. Modern politics are far tamer than they were 200 years ago. The economy is roaring ahead. Unemployment is at a long-time low (historic lows for minorities!). Women, minorities, and historically marginalized groups are treated legally fully as equals, and culturally we're getting there. People living at the "poverty line" in the US are better off than 85%+ of the rest of the world, including (by some measures) better than the middle class in Europe. ( From that link:

      The typical poor household, as defined by the government, has a car and air conditioning, two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. By its own report, the typical poor family was not hungry, was able to obtain medical care when needed.The typical average poor American has more living space in his home than the average (non-poor) European has.

      So's you. And people like you. Buying into the tocsin of doom and gloom in the media that is calculated and designed to make you anxious, make you fearful, and make you pay attention because that's how they sell advertising (or worse, manipulate you in other ways).

      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @12:06PM (#56750274) Journal

        America has been plunging into debt (not slowly) since Vietnam.

        The rate of debt growth in the US grew at about the same rate from WWII to 1980 (the Vietnam war ended in 1975). It wasn't "plunging". It didn't start to explode until Ronald Reagan took office. If you want to point to a cause of national debt, you can point to trickle-down economics, which has been the US flavor of late-stage capitalism since 1980 through today. Supply side doesn't work. It was voodoo then, and it's voodoo now.

    • by judoguy ( 534886 )

      On top of this, the world is straight the fuck up, dying. We're not working towards protecting it very well, we're not working towards replacing it (finding a new one elsewhere)

      Then we have the internet, ...

      Well, listen to you, Mr. glass half empty.

    • Then we have the internet, it's giving the poor access to see what's going on in the world better, they can see just how rich the rich are becoming, they can see the death of the world better than ever before, they can communicate with each other (as I am right now) elaborating on why there's little hope. Co2 is up, heat is up, methane bubbles are going off in siberia, animals are dying out, bees are dying off, America is slowly crumbling into debt. (no, I'm not American)

      Um...while I'll agree it's depres

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @10:34AM (#56749608)

      Douglas Adams wrote for the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Radio Series (First) About this torture device called the Total Perspective Vortex. Which simply showed your place in the universe. Causing the victim to die a painful death, on realizing how insignificant they are in the perspective of the entire universe.

      I expect a similar and much smaller scale effect is happening with access to the internet, and a flood of 24 hour news showing how tiny you are, and how little impact that you are doing to anything is depressing.

      Back before all this or when it just started. You could be the big man in your town, the Sports Star, the business owner, the guy with a Masters or a Doctorate. Your society as relatively small, events outside you world were shown in small doses often censored to keep up with your sensibilities. Sure you may get called off to War, but you knew you part of the good guys. There are complex problems, we knew they were "Egg Heads" working on them and their solutions will fix things. But you knew your place in the world, chances are you are doing better then your parents, you have stuff that society says that you should have. You feel good about yourself.

      Now being the local expert isn't a big deal, because anyone will google the answer, or watch the real pros play. Local news is mostly limited to the Weather and Traffic. All the problems of the world have half of the people blaming you/your ideals/your life style as the problem. The so called Experts show they don't have as a full grasp as you believed and can only do so much....

      For me to find meaning in my life, I often need to cut myself off from the media. just because it is too much.

  • It would be nice to see a year by year increase. "Since 1999" makes it hard to see the reason. Did it improve in some years and get worse in others? If so what policy changes may have caused this
    • With the way things are going on Slashdot lately, I'm sure we can expect a few replies to be "it's Trump's fault" or some other political bullshit.

      • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

        With the way things are going on Slashdot lately, I'm sure we can expect a few replies to be "it's Trump's fault" or some other political bullshit.

        The thing is we don't even have an indication. It might have increased more under Trump, or it might have decreased - the "rise since 1999" tells us nothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2018 @06:31AM (#56748344)

    As a former drug addict I can tell you from first hand experience many drug-heads are suicidal who are too timid to commit real suicide - so they choose the alternative --- drug themselves until they forget their pain

    I guess a lot of alcoholics are in similar circumstance as well

    Officially those who died of OD or those who drank themselves to death are not counted as suicide --- and they should be

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      Probably because it's kind of hard to ask them, after the fact, whether they OD'd because they wanted to kill themselves, or whether they were just looking for the best trip ever. Not ever OD is suicide.

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @06:33AM (#56748350)
    A quick check of older data shows that suicide rates, even though up 30% since the turn of the century, are about the same as a century ago.

    And well below the peak 90 years ago.

    Well below where it was 110 years ago, for that matter.

    Note that the previous peak corresponded with the beginning of the Great Depression. Not really sure what was happening 110 or so years ago to cause a bounce in suicide rates - it overlapped with WW1, but got started well before then....

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The financial crisis is really taking a toll on people. It's not wonder they are turning to populists and anyone who promises to fix things.

      What's interesting is that relatively speaking the US came out of the crash fairly quickly. Countries like the UK that went the austerity route are still well below 2008 levels for things like wages and quality of life. Where the US differs is that there are fewer safety nets. If you lose you lose big time and can very quickly end up with nothing and little hope of reco

      • by atrex ( 4811433 )
        I'm not sure that all of the US really came out of the crash. Certainly the stock market, the banks, corporations, and the rich came out of it. But it seems like a lot of the general populous got left behind to foot the bill. Taxpayer money used to bail out the banks, taxpayer money used to bail out the motor industry. And none of those bankers got prosecuted or served a day in jail. Thousands, millions of people lost their homes during the mortgage crisis. Health insurance and health care costs risin
    • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A quick check of older data shows that suicide rates, even though up 30% since the turn of the century, are about the same as a century ago.

      And well below the peak 90 years ago.

      So, it's regressing to the mean - big deal, right?

      This isn't some natural phenomena that just happens. These are people making the choice to off themselves. The suicide rate should be going to zero.

      And the fact that it's going back up is indicative of some underlying problem that shouldn't be ignored.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2018 @06:35AM (#56748356)

    According to the CDC more than 3/4 of suicides are men, yet the article makes it all about women. Do you feel privileged yet?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I actually think that this has to do with the gradual erosion of male values. Men seem increasingly unnecessary and vilified, male employment has taken a serious downturn, husbands/fathers are less societally respected, and the sexual market of old (goodJob->getGirl->getMarried->haveSex) is now nearly entirely vanished (gotoBar->Gamechicks->haveSex). I feel like it is gradually turning to a winner-takes-all system where the top 20% of men get the majority of both money and women. On an ind

      • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @10:12AM (#56749478) Journal

        In the UK there's also a sizeable funding issue. The government spends more on 'violence against women and girls' than it does on suicide prevention/support, even though men are 25 times more likely to kill themselves than a woman.

        In divorce cases women can get legal aid; men can not.

        In domestic violence situations there are hundreds of refuges funded for women. Very few in the whole country for men. Funding for domestic violence is almost all targeted towards helping female victims too, and at least one of the national domestic violence charities assumes men are abusers (and is demanding gendered legislation to provide protections to women but not men).

        That's before you look at the gender imbalances in the justice system and the family courts, the impossibility for men to interact with women without risking a charge of harassment, the demands that men should show emotion combined with criticism when they do, the suspicion men face when alone with children, the constant barrage of media hatred towards masculinity..

        It's no wonder some men are struggling to cope.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As the CDC itself issued 'guidelines' to essentially force doctors to stop giving opioid drugs even to people with chronic pain illnesses and conditions, many of these people are giving up and killing themselves because of the pain.

    This report isn't the CDC soberly discussing a disturbing trend. They're bragging at how effectively they themselves are helping cull people from the Social Security and disability payments lists, thus helping their government masters kick the can down the road a bit more.

    When th

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      So the CDC is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

      There's very little serious infectious disease in the US, and those diseases that remain are low-level and stubborn to eliminate. They can chase short-term outbreaks (E. Coli and other food-borne pathogens) and predict potential apocalypse from new pandemics, but other than that they're forced to redefine non-pathogenic problems as "public health crises" and suggest social engineering solutions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ryanrule ( 1657199 )
      opioids are shit for long term pain. you just want your heroin fix.
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      'guidelines' to essentially force

      That doesn't make sense. How do guidelines "essentially force" anything? By definition, a guideline doesn't "force" anything.
  • The article says that suicide rate increases have traditionally correlated with economic downturns but I wonder how much incremental impact the isolating effect of social media has now had on the rates? Along with the isolation social media also enables more intense bullying that also drives some to suicide. Between this and the fact that our new ânormalâ(TM) economy just isnâ(TM)t that great could this increase be just a bump to a new normal?
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Friday June 08, 2018 @08:23AM (#56748770)

    Sense and enthusiasm are essential for a happy life. In a world transitioning though cyberpunk into post-scarcity faster than any science fiction writer could've ever imagined, sense, meaning and enthusiasm are constantly upended and revised.

    These are not easy times. I was suicidal for a bit 6 years back. Luckily I though about what that would do to my daughter and pulled myself out of my rut of over-emphasised self-importance that often is the cause of 1st world depression and went to work to be useful to my loved ones. I bounced back pretty quick and once again these days life is awesome again. Best sex ever, neat job, webdev in high demand and - most importantly - I'm more resilient and prepared for the next slump and emotional downer.

    I recommend stoicism as a life philosophy. Get's you though tough times very neatly and helps you focus on the real things. No religion needed.

    My 2 cents.

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Friday June 08, 2018 @08:28AM (#56748790)

    ... than in realtiy." - Seneca

    "You can make yourself miserable or you can make yourself happy. The amount of effort is the same." - Carlos Castaneda

    Stoicism. Beats religion and any other philosophy any time, hands down.

  • What are the side effects of anti-depressants? Suicide. Why are we over prescribing this and everything else in the US? People need to stop taking drugs if the side effects are DEATH.

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @08:46AM (#56748866)

    Veterans are killing themselves in significant numbers.

    Likely due to the persistent conflicts the US has participated in since Desert Storm kicked off in the 90's.

  • Coincidence? You decide []

    Yeah, I'm a cynic.

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @08:49AM (#56748884)

    If we try really hard, I'm sure we can get that up to 100%!

  • Social Engineering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamlam ( 1101193 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @08:56AM (#56748932)
    We've spent the last 50 years "deconstructing the pillars of society" that pretty much everyone adhered to up until then. As an engineer, I'm wondering if anyone ever checked to see what they were holding up.
  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @09:15AM (#56749040)

    This doesn't change the fact that clinical depression is the chief driver of suicide.

    Most of us cling tenaciously to life, no matter how much things suck. We all have negative things happen to us; most of us do not react by taking to our beds or deciding that everything is hopeless. It's not the external event; it's the resilience against it. (A good popular work on this is Against Depression, by Peter Kramer.)

    As others have pointed out, suicide rates were higher 90 years ago.

    Stop trying to make everything about politics.

  • People should have the right to end their own life when they chose to. I think there comes a point where many people think 'I have had a full life, I am getting older, I don't want to deal with aches and pains, reduced mental capacity, the inability to do the things I enjoy. I want to go on my own terms.'. It doesn't have to be linked to depression- - it's just a decision based on a realization.
  • by Blinkin1200 ( 917437 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @09:36AM (#56749192)

    You should respect their wishes.

    • To some extent I agree. But if there is something about society that could be changed, willingly, that would make people less likely to make that choice, then I might be for it. If the cause is external, why can't the solution be external?
  • The wife and I were talking just the other day about how even people who are 'struggling' in TV shows seem to be able to afford wonderful New York apartments. The people in the dingy apartments are always the bad guys, or the people with alcohol issues, or whatever. Furthermore, these characters are always well dressed, even though the joke is they have a shitty job. People move away from their support structure in search of this image of the American dream, to more condensed places where proper lodging
    • Another thought.. recent Slashdot article indicating there are more open jobs then people to fill them, yet many comments indicating that it is still a struggle out there. That's kind of a brain fuck in itself.

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly