What Age Group Has Highest Risk of Suicide? The below is a quote from one of the many excellent books written by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison: Night Falls Fast – Understanding Suicide.
The book (image to the left, can click to purchase) was published in October, 2000 and has 151 customer reviews.
The majority of those reviewers rated the book five stars and many wrote paragraphs of heart-felt and deeply provoking responses they had after reading it, some of it heart-wrenching.
The reviews are worth reading, even if the book may be a bit too intense in full. I have not read it yet, not the time right now. But I do want to understand the issue better.
I have no illusions that I will never experience serious depression again in my lifetime. Bipolar 1 Disorder does not usually play out that way.
Though I have found things that have helped me deal with and prevent serious mood episodes. I am hopeful that will continue as I age.
Quoted from Prologue of the Book
“As a clinician, researcher, and teacher I have known or consulted on patients who hanged, shot or asphyxiated themselves; jumped to their deaths from stairwells, buildings, or overpasses; died from poisons, fumes, prescription drugs; or slashed their wrists or cut their throats.”
“Close friends, fellow students from graduate school, colleagues, and children of colleagues have done similar or the same. Most were young and suffered from mental illness; all left behind a wake of unimaginable pain and unresolvable guilt.”
Source: Read on Amazon here.
The Young Are Most At Risk – Is This True Today?
“Most were young…” That persons who are in the supposed prime of their life are wanting to end that life prematurely is beyond sad. We all know that.
Like Jamison I know that reality intimately. And most of my suicide ideation was during my early twenties. Same as too many others.
“In 2014, there were 42,773 deaths by suicide in the United States. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death; homicide ranks 17th. It is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds.”
Elderly More Likely to Commit Suicide?
Jamison’s book quoted above was written in the year 2000. Have things gotten better? Unfortunately no. And it seems that more elderly persons are taking their own lives which is making the overall rate higher now.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
“The suicide rates decreased from 1990-2000 from 12.5 suicides per 100,000 to 10.4 per 100,000. Over the past decade, however, the rate has again increased to 12.1 per 100,000. Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)”
The below is from a May, 2013 article: There’s Been A Disturbing Increase In Middle-Aged Suicides Since 2000.
“The economic downturn may have something to do with the increase in the suicide rate, the report says. Suicide rates tend to rise and fall along with economic cycles.”
“It may also have something to do with the historically high rates of suicide among the baby boomer generation — who are now in their 50s and 60s — as well as the increased availability of prescription drugs commonly used in suicide.”
Source: Business Insider article.
Are There Any Factors That Can Be Eliminated?
We can help in many ways someone suffering from severe depression but no one can take over someone’s pain or walk in their shoes. No one has the power to stop a suicide. We can only make attempts to prevent the impulse from being acted on and accomplished.
But can we do other things too? Are there reasons for the increase in deaths that are not being studied or talked about honestly? Reasons like an insane increase in handing out prescriptions for brain damaging psychotropic medications that often worsen a person’s mental and physical state of suffering?
Related post: Are Your Psych Meds Making You Sick?
Can we do things like stop giving brain damaging drugs to children under the age of 18 at minimum, and at best stop the increase in adults being prescribed psych meds?
More Honesty in Research and About Psychotropic Medications
Can the increase in suicide among older adults be related to the increase in the percentage of adults taking a psychotropic medication and the effects those medications are having?
We are talking about ‘normal’ folks here – not the much smaller percentage of the population who truly suffers from a genetically-based serious mental illness such as Manic Depression. Or the more common mental illness depression.
Below are two quotes from a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) article:
“Older adults have a higher risk for experiencing bad drug interactions, missing doses, or overdosing.”
“Older adults also tend to be more sensitive to medications. Even healthy older people react to medications differently than younger people because older people’s bodies process and eliminate medications more slowly.”
Source: Mental Health Medications.
Did you know this? Do families know this? Are the doctors prescribing these meds willy nilly to treat any form of psychological distress telling their patients this?
Asking an overly-broad question but one that is still valid to ask: Is suicide related to taking psychotropic medication?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you are having a hard time coping, feeling very depressed or suicidal there is a 24 hour free telephone line with people who care available to talk to you.
National Suicide 24/7 Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)