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Suicides in the USA

Suicides among midde-aged Americans has been on the rise in the United States. More people die from suicides than vehicle accidents :
In 2010, an average of nearly 18 out of every 100,000 people aged 35-64 died from suicide - four more than a decade earlier. In 2010, motor vehicle accidents killed 33,687 people, while 38,364 died from suicide that year, according to the CDC, the government agency tasked with providing research and recommendations on US health and safety.

Among non-Hispanic whites and Native Americans, annual suicide rates leaped 40 percent and 65 percent, respectively. Nearly three times as many men as women in this age group killed themselves: around 27 men compared to eight women per 100,000 in 2010. And the CDC found that, while most suicides were committed with guns, the number of people dying from suffocation and hanging rose the fastest - by more than 80 percent - over the last decade.

Experts are not certain why suicide rates are increasing so markedly among middle-aged adults, but suggested that causes could include the economic crisis of recent years. Suicides have historically spiked in times of financial hardship. The authors also noted that the increase in suicides among baby boomers in their 50s may be a quirk of their generation, as they also showed unusually high rates of suicide in their teenage years.
This pattern is typical of most western countries actually. I was recently looking at UK data on suicides and it seemed to show the critical age is between 40 and 50 years. I was quite struck by that. More suicides are committed by that age group than any other group per capita (accounting for population differences). I think a key factor is loneliness. There's need for the western churches to reconsider how it seeks the lost and emphasise more a gospel that not only rescues sinners from sin but brings them into a family with a true sense of belonging. We have previously touched on this topic here.

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

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