Suicide—Top Injury-Related Killer of Americans


Suicide—Top Injury-Related Killer of Americans

More Americans are dying by suicide than are killed in car crashes. A new study published by the American Journal of Public Health in its November 2012 issue says that the number of people who commit suicide has drastically increased while the number of people killed in car wrecks has significantly dropped.

Suicides are now the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S. Shockingly, the suicide rate in America has risen 15 percent from 2000 to 2009.

Currently, the top four injury-related deaths in America are suicides, car crashes, poisonings and falls.

Ian Rocket, author of the study, told Mail Online, “Suicides are terribly under-counted. … I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe. We have a situation that has gotten out of hand.”

Rocket believes that there may be an additional 20 percent or more unrecognized suicide deaths. For example, poisoning deaths have risen 128 percent in the same time period. Considering that many of the poisoning deaths are due to overdoses from prescription drugs, a portion of these deaths are more likely to be intentional rather than accidental.

There is a similar scenario with falls. Deaths from falls rose 71 percent. It is likely that a portion of those falls were not accidental. Many commit suicide by jumping from a tall building or a bridge.

The study also considered sex and race in its research. It is interesting to note that fewer women die from suicide than men. In addition, blacks and Hispanics have fewer suicides, yet more die from homicide.

Suicide is not just an American problem. Data shows that suicide is on the rise globally. In August 2012, the Mail Online reported that the suicide rate in Greece had skyrocketed. Greece used to have one of the lowest suicide rates in Europe, but is now seeing a huge spike in people taking their own lives. Also on the rise in Greece are the use of anti-depressant drugs. Mental health officials attribute the trend to the economic catastrophe engulfing the nation.

Experts believe that the failing U.S. economy is the culprit behind the spike in the American suicide rate as well. During the Great Depression, suicides hit a record high of 22 people per 100,000. During economic prosperity, suicide rates fall off sharply, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. In the economically prosperous year 2000, for example, only 10 per 100,000 people took their lives.

In the U.S. a $56 million suicide prevention program has been established under the Garret Lee Smith Memorial Act. Suicide experts plan to devote the new funding to provide the same amount of effort to stopping suicide as has been devoted to reducing car crash deaths. A majority of this effort will be devoted to education to help communities stop the rising tide of suicide. The program’s goal is to save 20,000 lives over the next five years.

No one need suffer from hopelessness and despair—even in these tough economic times. Read “Finding the Path Out of Depression” and other related articles on archive.