Strange spike in US suicide stats

Just for comparison, the latest public provisional stats that I could find for NZ are 11 per 100,000 (2013)

A new report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that the suicide rate in the US has surged to its highest level in three decades.

In 2014, 13 people out of every 100,000 took their own lives, compared with 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999.

According to the report, the number of suicides in the US has been on the rise since 1999 for everyone between the ages of 10 and 74 but the increase was particularly pronounced among the country’s white middle-aged population.

The report showed that the overall suicide rate in the country rose by 24 per cent from 1999 to 2014.

The suicide rate for white middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the same period and it rose by 43 percent for white men in that age range.

CDC experts did not offer an explanation for the steep rise in the number of “white” suicides.

The report did not break down the suicides by education level or incomes but previous studies showed rising suicide rates among white people without university degrees.

“This is part of the larger emerging pattern of evidence of the links between poverty, hopelessness and health,” Robert D Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, told the New York Times.

It seems counter-intuitive for middle aged white men and women to take their lives more than they used to two decades ago, especially when you realise that the US has a fair number of war veterans and substantial ethnic and immigrant poverty problems.

Is being white no longer the privileged ticket it used to be? It will be interesting to keep an eye on other western democracies to see if this is just a US phenomenon or if western society as a whole reflects this increase in suicides in a group that has generally been considered the ones who got the easiest ride.

For more interesting (and a little grim) reading, check out Stats NZ’s page on suicides.


– Al Jazeera


Helplines and support services

If you need to talk to someone other than emergency services, try these helplines:

Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise stated.

  • Lifeline0800 543 354
  • Depression Helpline0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
    (for people in distress, and people who are worried about someone else)
  • Healthline0800 611 116
  • Samaritans0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 04 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email [email protected]
  • What’s Up – 0800 942 8787
    (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm)
  • Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 KIDSLINE)
    (for children up to 14 years of age; 4 pm to 6 pm weekdays)
  • – includes The Journal free online self-help tool
  • – visit the website, email [email protected] or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between 12 noon and 12 midnight).
  • OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE)
    (provides confidential support for sexuality or gender identity issues).
  • – an online self-help tool that teaches young people the key skills needed to help combat depression and anxiety.
  • Common Ground – a central hub providing parents, family, whānau and friends with access to information, tools and support to help a young person who’s struggling.
  • Mental Health Foundation – for more information about supporting someone in distress, looking after your mental health and working towards recovery.




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  • Jimmie

    Are suicides a good or a bad phenomenon?

    For most Conservative folk (including myself) it is a bad thing – for a person to want to end their life for what ever reason is seen as an affront to the concept that human life is to be cherished wherever possible.

    This concept also fits historically with Capital Punishment as the thought of someone deliberately taking another’s life is so abhorrent that the person taking the life must share the same fate.

    It also allows the Conservative to consider the right of an Unborn child to exist beyond the 9 months of pregnancy.

    For the more liberal amongst us it is not so easy to decide.

    – The liberal is definitely opposed to the worst members of society (Murderers) from suffering the same fate as their victims. (Capital Punishment is barbaric)
    – However the same liberal is quite happy for forming human lives to be killed in the name of convenience and freedom of choice for women.(And definitely if the unborn is showing signs of disability)
    – Also now there is a push for those with terminal illnesses to be allowed the choice to die prematurely with the help of a drug or two from a doctor.

    However when it comes to otherwise healthy persons (for what ever reason) who wish to end their lives (and the significant numbers involved) this is seen as a bad thing.

    What is the difference?

    – A terminal physical illness (Everyone suffers from this – called old age) vs perhaps a mental/depression ‘illness’ which makes the person concerned feel/decide that life is no longer worth living.

    – Why should people with a terminal physical illness have more choices than a person with a mental illness or depression? Is not this unfair discrimination?

    How long until a Suicide Support Group starts up that agitates for painless and assisted suicide to be legal and available for all – with lots of safeguards of course.

    The liberal philosophy has so many hypocritical contortions to justify the various conflicting positions it is a wonder that any right thinking person can ever hold to them.

  • RightofSingapore

    Must be all that white privilege we keep hearing about [sarcasm]

  • Mark

    White War Veterans & their wives?

  • Superman

    With the way things are going in the US it is maybe not surprising that the suicide rate is rising, especially among white middle class people. Whoever wins the presidential election this November expect a big jump in the number of people from this group looking to live here in New Zealand.

  • OneTrack

    Hope and change, Obama style.