Suicide Rates Today Nearing Great Depression Levels

Last June, the CDC released a report showing the rise of suicide rates in the United States. The report finds in over half of the states, suicide rates rose by over 30% between 1999 and 2017. The national suicide rate rose in accordance to that, going from 10.5 to 14 per 100,000. Modern suicide rates are the highest they have been in decades.

Not only that, but the CDC also reports over half of the people who committed suicide did not have depression. Something worth noting is stigma around reporting mental disorders has dropped over the last hundred years as the world has become more progressive. The suicide rate in 2017 was 14.0 which would be after the recession. This blows through two liberal theories of why the current suicide rate is so high – it does not seem to be related purely to social stigma or economic conditions although the latter would obviously have an effect.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention finds the rate of suicide was actually closer to stagnant than to rising during the recession of 2007-2009. This is quite interesting as the magnitude of despair during this time (something my family experienced) would be expected to raise the suicide rates immensely.

After all, it did have an effect during the Great Depression. A 2009 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) was able to track the suicide rate and mortality rate for other diseases during the Great Depression. What they found was the suicide rate reached its peak in 1932 at around 17 per 100,000. It then lowered to around 14-15.

suicide rates during depression.jpg

As the suicide rate continues to rise in the United States, we will likely see it hit the all-time highs created by the Great Depression without the same economic causality. This is one of the most, if not the most important issue in the United States right now. Unfortunately, we don’t hear enough from policymakers and politicians addressing it. Instead, we are worried about if our kids are going to be some made up gender or not. Thanks Ben Shapiro!

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