Why Are Suicide Rates in the U.S. at an All-Time High?
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
Recent reports are revealing that death rates are up from previous years, with 2017 topping out at 2.8 million (70,000 people more than 2016). The data has researchers investigating the reasons as to why there’s a spike.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) noted a variety of causes of death such as diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and many others, as well as suicides, the common flu, drug overdoses, and unintentional injuries before unveiling the data to the public. According to their findings, in 2017, there were on average 14 suicides for every 100,000 deaths in the U.S., a record high in the past fifty years since the government began to keep track.
Below is an image that shows the steady decline in life expectancy for the past four years
Often the suicide rates share the commonality of drug usage, but not always. Dr. William Dietz of George Washington University believes the suicide rate is attributed to a sense of “hopeless” and a fear of the future. Experts at the CDC state, “the increase partly reflects the nation’s growing and aging population. But, it’s deaths in younger age groups — particularly middle-aged people — that have had the largest impact on calculations of life expectancy.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states that for every suicide (14 in 100,000), 25 people attempt to kill themselves. What’s more, in 2016, the highest suicide rate numbered at 19.72 with a middle-aged adults between 45 and 54 at epicenter.
Director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield appropriately notes, “These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable.”
The new data reflect much of what the media is already showcasing. Recent movies like A STAR IS BORN, NERVE and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, all feature suicide in varying forms. Netflix also received heavy controversy with the release of the series 13 REASONS WHY about the suicide of a teenager, which dramatically caused suicide searches on the internet to spike. Additionally, some online games are challenging youngsters to self-harm and suicide as well.
In November of 2017, The Foster Letter released its findings on teenage suicide rates and their correlation to social media. “Teenagers spending five hours a day on social media were 70% more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those reporting only one hour of daily use,” the research explains. Social media has the ability to create a deep-rooted habit of comparison that robs us of our contentment and often leads to depression. Things of the like are so widespread throughout the media these days that loneliness is now being called an epidemic by many.
Although experts maintain varying positions as to why suicide rates are going up it’s safe to affirm that this is a tragedy in every sense of the word. More than ever it’s important that we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and teach the next generation the importance of media wisdom and discernment.
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