Suicide now lead cause of injury death in U.S., bad economy may be to blame

Laura Byrne Contributor
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A new study reveals that suicide is now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, topping out car crashes. This new statistic, while alarming, is not unexpected, according to a previous report on suicide rates in the U.S.

A report published last spring from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the state of the economy directly affects the rate of suicides in the United States. Suicides occur less often during economic prosperity, and become more common during recessions, the study showed.

The suicide rate reached its peak in the U.S. during the Great Depression. For every 100,000 people, 22 took their own lives in 1932. This is over double the rate of suicides that occurred in 2000 during a booming economy, when only 10 people for every 100,000 committed suicide, according to the CDC report.

From 2000 to 2009, as the economy slowed, the number of suicides in America increased 15 percent, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday.

While the percentage of suicides is not as high as it was during the Great Depression, Ian Rockett, who authored the study, believes the number of “suicides are terribly under-counted” because of circumstances such as overdose.

“Economic problems can impact how people feel about themselves and their futures, as well as their relationships with family and friends,” Feijun Luo, an economist in CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, told Bloomberg.

In 2009, 37,000 Americans took their own lives, according to information accumulated through the National Center for Health Statistics.

“We have a situation that has gotten out of hand,” Rocket said.’

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Laura Byrne