Understanding The recent staggering rise of Suicides In The United States

Anthony Bourdain, the famed chef and TV star, Kate Spade, the founder of her famous fashion brand.The one thing that was common among their recent sensational news and death was depression and later suicide.

Depressed person with the thoughts of suicide.
Depressed person with the thoughts of suicide.

Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., and the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24, according to the CDC. Additionally, US suicide rates increased more than 25% since 1999.

It is often common for people to dismiss suicides as something rather exotic but a closer study would make it evident that suicides are an integral part of society in general and more so with the various communities in the United States.  Just about 37,000 people in the United States and over 1 million the world over commit suicide each year. This brings into focus the seriousness of the situation and makes it evidently clear that this is a topic that needs attention.

The primary health providers can be the best possible means of controlling peoples’ suicides.  This is because in 75% of the suicides that occurred, the victims did come in contact with some form of health care the past one year prior to the attempt.  And more importantly, a third did come across a mental health service just a month prior to the suicide. This brings up the factor the proper attention to the affected groups can bring appreciable difference to those taking their own lives in the country.
What causes most folks to contemplate suicide?

Over the years, studying suicide cases has contributed to understanding the mind set of those wanting to do harm to themselves.  Although it is not easy to come up with generalizations, a fair bit of effort has been taken to understand the affected person and more importantly to understand the mindset.

  • Psychiatric disorders: One of the most notable aspects of those affected by psychiatric ailments is the propensity for these people to have suicidal thoughts.  This is further compounded if the patient does have prior family history of suicides. There has to be a greater sensitivity towards people affected by mental health issues and a proper monitoring mechanism must be devised to keep watch of these groups.

Addiction to alcohol and drugs is common in people with concomitant depression and maniac disorders. Adequate treatment, counseling, rehab and when appropriate adequate detoxification needs to be considered

  • Feeling of despair: This situation is very different from a psychiatrist situation as often there are no underlying health issues with these people.  Often it is that the situation overwhelms those people so as to leave little hope for the future. The final act of taking own lives are more of an impulsive action than a coordinated effort at best. 
  • Age and sex: Statistically, the older folks tend to think of committing suicide than the younger lot and there are more chances for women to attempt suicide as compared to the men folks.  This should point at the social situation of the affected person than a direct link to attempted suicides.
  • Marital status: There are significantly more people attempting suicide who are not married at any time than those who are attached to someone.  It has to be seen that having a partner to confide to does improve not just the mental outlook but equally important is the fact that there is someone watching out for the other person.
  • Occupation and education backgrounds: The more educated people are less likely to attempt suicide and it is the folks that are engaged in the more skilled jobs that are less likely to take their own lives.  But the success rate of attempts at suicide is higher in the better educated backgrounds. The more educated tends to use less violent methods for the better parts.
  • Health issues: Serious health issues can lead folks to attempt suicide and if the ill health is compounded by great pain and suffering, then the suicidal thoughts and attempts are higher as well.  This could be linked to the feeling of acute despair that such people go through and more so if there is very little social structures to support them.
  • Troublesome childhood: People who have had a traumatic childhood tend to think of committing suicide than those folks that have had a fulfilling childhoods.  The abuse can be either the physical form or of sexual nature; and the chances of attempted suicides tend to just double at best. Suicides tend to run in families for the most part and so often it is seen that an attempt at suicide by a member of a family would be followed by attempts by others.

Differences in the morbid thoughts

People that have spent time with those trying to kill themselves often describe differences to the contributing thoughts of such individuals.  There is the first group who would stress the need to take their lives and then there is the second group that feels that they are better off dead.  It must be stressed that each of the two thought process comes about in different circumstances and often with the most committed of individuals, there is bound to be some inkling to the final act some time before its occurrence.

The role of the mental health care systems in the prevention of suicides

Group therapy at one of mental health care systems or rehabs.
Group therapy at one of mental health care systems or rehabs.

Despite the huge strides that mental health care has taken, the human mind still remains an enigma at best.  Thus conditions are best handled by the symptomatic approach than the physiological methods. In this method, it is important that the affected individual is brought into contact with the necessary health personnel.

Cultures too do play an important role in the management of suicidal persons.  In a nuclear set up, the avenues of support that an affected person needs would well be lacking.  In the long run it is the manifestation of the breakup of the close families and the inability of people to take the pressures that lead to the increased instances of people harming themselves. 


It would be wrong to attribute the instances of people trying suicides to a single cause.  Most instances do involve complex situations that are best related to by those affected. The best effort to managing the person thinking of committing suicide is to provide the necessary social support needed to keep the person thinking stably.

Where professional care providers are needed, they should be made use of.  Far greater issue of the stigma attached to the suicidal person is the very act of losing a life.