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Steep Rise in Suicides Among Middle-Aged Americans, CDC Says
Date:5/3/2013

rlier ages in their lives in adolescence and young adulthood," he said.

In addition, the burst of the dot-com bubble and the recession may have played a role, Simon said. "Another explanation is the increase in prescription drug abuse and prescription overdose deaths and the risk of suicide that comes from prescription drug overdose and abuse," he said.

"Suicide is an important public health problem across the lifespan," Simon added. "Traditionally we have invested in prevention for adolescents and young adults and prevention for older adults. What we are seeing now is suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for the middle-age group. We need to better understand how to address the needs of middle-aged adults so that we can prevent suicide."

Suicide rates for those younger people aged 10 to 34, and seniors aged 65 years and older did not change significantly over the study period, the CDC researchers noted.

The report was published in the May 3 issue of the CDC's journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Berman believes a lot needs to be done to identify those at risk and get them help. "People at risk are help-able, but we have to get them into help," he said. "Most suicides are preventable."

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in an agency news release: "Suicide is a tragedy that is far too common. The stories we hear of those who are impacted by suicide are very difficult. This report highlights the need to expand our knowledge of risk factors so we can build on prevention programs that prevent suicide."

According to the report, the increases in middle-age suicides were particularly significant among whites (up 40 percent), and American Indians/Alaska Natives (up 65 percent).

The most common means of suicide for both men and women were hanging/suffocation, poisoning and guns, all of which showed an increase, the CDC found. Guns and hanging/suffocation were the most common method of suicide among mid
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