Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Other Choice

Rarely does anyone say, "help me, I'm going to kill myself!" Naw, people who get depressed enough or backed into an existential corner are always going to contemplate suicide. It doesn't mean someone is necessarily sick or crazy; rather, it means they're all filled up with painful emotion and they are compelled to find a way out.

A new government report shows middle-aged white people now account for a third of all suicides in the U.S .

Suicide is the nation's 10th leading cause of death, and the overall rate rose 24 percent in 15 years, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Suicides have long been most common among white people - particularly older white males. But most striking in the new report is the growth in whites ages 45 to 64.

They were a third of suicide deaths in 2014, up from about a quarter in 1999.

The CDC data - released Friday - provides a detailed look at the latest year's suicide statistics, and a broader look at how much the situation has changed over 15 years.

There were nearly 43,000 U.S. suicides in 2014. More than 14,000 of them were middle-aged whites - twice the combined total for all blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaska Natives.

In other terms - a group that represents 18 percent of the U.S. population accounted for 33 percent of the suicides.

The CDC also reported striking increases in suicide rates in adult American Indians and Alaska Natives, although the number of those suicide deaths is much smaller.

The report doesn't try to answer why certain trends are occurring. Other experts have speculated that middle age can be a particularly hard time for whites, who - compared to some other racial and ethnic groups - commonly don't have as many supportive relationships with friends, family, or religious communities,

Money was a factor, too, they say. The economy was in recession from the end of 2007 until mid-2009. Even well afterward, polls showed most Americans remained worried about weak hiring, a depressed housing market and other problems.

You might be surprised to learn another modern day factor appears to be a state of mind influenced by a constant media barrage that enjoys denigrating the achievements of white men while maintaining the fiction that all white people are prejudiced against people of color.

In related news, the life expectancy for white women - and for white people as a whole - declined slightly in 2014. Some experts have said a combination of factors may be the reason, including more drug overdoses and suicides. Not a few experts believe the increased rates are due to increased white guilt. Again, that white guilt is propagated by the media and, sadly, not based in fact.

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