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A new report released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that suicide rates in the U.S. are the highest they’ve been since the end of World War II.
The report analyzed suicide and mortality data from 1999 to 2017 and found a shocking average 33% increase in suicide across all ages and populations across the country. While suicide rates have been rising year-to-year since 1999 at an average of 1% per year, the report noted that it began increasing more dramatically in 2006, when the first symptoms of the 2008 financial crisis began hitting families. From that point, the yearly increase has averaged 2% for men and 3% for women.
Banks were bailed out after the financial crisis, but for many of the people who went through hardships during that time, things haven’t gotten any easier. Statistically, wages have stayed lower than they were even before the crisis, and people are kept in temporary or contractor positions indefinitely. Unemployment is low, but people often have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. According to the Aspen Insitute, 16% of suicides occur in response to financial struggles.
But that’s just part of the story. The growth in suicide is not shared equally across populations. While the national average growth is 33%, for Native American men the increase since 1999 has been 71%. It’s even worse for Native American women, for whom the suicide rate has increased by 139%. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Native American youths, according to the Center for Native American Youth, which lays the blame on, “historical trauma, chronically underfunded federal programs, and broken promises on the part of the US government.”
Suicide rates also increased for all age groups under 75, including for children as young as 10 years old, with the most dramatic growth in men ages 45 to 64.
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H/T BuzzFeed News
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.