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Middle-Age Suicide Rises Faster In Indiana Than US

Suicides of Hoosiers aged 35-64 increased 54 percent from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC

Photo: Screenshot of CDC website

The CDC keeps a database of suicide rates and causes across the U.S.

Suicides among middle-age adults are rising at a significant rate, and Indiana’s rate of increase is nearly twice the national average.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows annual suicide rates among adults between the ages of 35 and 64 jumped 28 percent from 1999 to 2010. In Indiana, suicides for the same age group rose nearly 54 percent.

Thomas Simon, a researcher at CDC’s Injury Center, says the data goes against previous trends.

“You see a dramatic increase in later adolescence and young adulthood, then it tends to level off and then you see another increase in later adulthood, historically that’s what we’ve seen. But now we’re starting to identify with this support and others a significant increase and heightened risk for those in middle age.”

Simon says there has not been enough research to point to a specific cause, but analysts have considered economic downturns, the aging of the baby boomer population and an increase in number of prescription drugs people are taking.

The Indiana Suicide Prevention Coalition is kicking off a prevention plan at their annual conference in September.

The group’s Director Alice Jordan-Miles says while the plan does give more specific recommendations for dealing with high-risk populations, general rules will go far to reduce suicide.

“Bringing awareness and being aware of warning signs and risk factors, that pertains to everyone, from youth to middle-age, to the elderly,” she says.

Still, Simon says states and organizations can also provide more specific services for those in middle-age such as counseling for people facing job loss, marital problems or stresses of taking care of both their children and parents.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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