REPORT: Suicide on the rise

Leading health officials have been uneasy about rising suicide rates for some time, and a recent study at Colombia University shows the trend isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

A study summarized by Study Finds recounted the work of researchers at the world-renowned university, who drew on survey data from more than 70,000 American adults spanning the decade preceding 2014 collected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to determine the degree to which suicide was rising. They found that over the aforementioned period, instances of an attempted suicide increased from 11 percent to 13 percent per 100,000 people.

They went on to add that the increase in attempts goes hand in hand with an increase in successful suicides and that the likelihood a suicide attempt is successful increases with age.

Middle-aged adults, aged 45 to 64, were the group with the most successful attempts, while young adults — those aged 21 to 34 — were the most likely to simply attempt suicide.

Unsurprisingly, positive indicators of suicide included unemployment, a lack of education, and low socioeconomic status. Health indicators included the typical traits of a suicidal psyche: depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other mental health disorders.

“The patterns seen in this study suggest that clinical and public health efforts to reduce suicide would be strengthened by focusing on younger patients who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and psychiatrically distressed,” argues Dr. Mark Olfson, the study’s lead author in a press release.

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of the department of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, said that it “provides a warning signal of the harmful consequences of ignoring mental illness and an exhortation to improve mental health care in the U.S.”

Other important national health findings this year show that instances of opioid abuse are on the rise, as well, an issue that can’t be good for suicide rates either.

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