ATLANTA, Georgia -- Suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen substantially since 1999, according to a report in the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The greatest increases in suicide rates were among baby boomers aged 50 to 54 years (48 percent) and 55 to 59 years (49 percent).
Annual suicide rates among those 35 to 64 years old increased 28 percent (from 13.7 suicides per 100,000 people in 1999 to 17.6 per 100,000 in 2010), with particularly high increases among non-Hispanic whites and American Indians and /Alaska Natives. Florida was above the national average for this middle age group with 21.4 per 100,000.
"Suicide is a tragedy that is far too common," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "The stories we hear of those who are impacted by suicide are very difficult. This report highlights the need to expand our knowledge of risk factors so we can build on prevention programs that prevent suicide."
Most suicide research and prevention efforts have focused historically on youth and the elderly. The CDC says that this report’s findings suggest that efforts should also address the needs of middle-aged persons.
Suicide deaths have surpassed deaths from motor vehicle crashes in recent years in the United States. In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides.