Suicides soar among middle-aged Americans
Some unique generational and economic stresses may help explain why more people in their 50s and 60s are killing themselves.
Why are more middle-aged Americans killing themselves? Is it the economic crunch? More access to both legal and illegal drugs? Or maybe it's part of being in the so-called Sandwich Generation -- the cohort that's coping with the issues of their elderly parents while still trying to raise their own children.
What is certain, according to a new Morbidity and Mortality report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is those numbers are at startling levels for the baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964.
The CDC reports that from 1999 to 2010, the overall, age-adjusted suicide rate for adults aged 35 to 64 years jumped by 28.4%. Broken down by gender, the suicide rate for men in their 50s during that period increased by nearly 50%, while for women aged 60 to 64 its growth approached 60%.
And some experts think those numbers may be underreported, due to suicide's social stigma. After all, middle age is supposed to be the most stable time of your life, "because you're married, you're settled, you had a job," Dr. Paula Clayton, medical director for the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, said in an interview with CNN.com.
Boomers in particular appear to be facing some unique generational and financial stresses. The Great Recession left many of them unemployed or underemployed toward the final years of their profession lives, while they still face such normal middle-age stresses as mortgages, car payments and saving for their kids' educations. And this inability to find work and keep their economically struggling families afloat could be "that final weight to a whole chain of events," Pat Smith, with the Michigan Department of Community Health, told the Associated Press.
"Some people who've never been unemployed before, they've lost their savings during this economic trend," Clayton said. "They can't access their retirement benefits because they're not old enough. There is more stress economically on those middle-aged people than there was earlier."
Then again, it may have something to do with boomers' outlook.
"The boomers had great expectations for what their life might look like, but I think perhaps it hasn't panned out that way," Julie Phillips, a sociology professor at Rutgers University who has researched suicide rates, told The New York Times. "All these conditions the boomers are facing, future cohorts are going to be facing many of these conditions as well."
Looks, (apparent/perceived age), trumps ability, skill, moral conviction and values in today's world. 50 years ago, our "elders" were to be respected for possessing the wisdom, ethics and integrity only many years and hard earned lessons can bestow. Today, our elders are only seen as capable greeters at a Superstore, volunteers at the local hospital, or commercial actors for senior care commercials. The Media (which now is the major driver of interpersonal perceptions), has largely filtered anyone who 'looks' over 35 from content presented to every man woman and child; the 'old' are now little more than ancient byproducts of the young and vivacious.
My heart is heavy as I am writing this. Factory closing, with twelve hundred employees, was closed within months of nine hundred of the employees, having enough time working, to qualify for a pension.
Two friends, both hard working guys, both worked overtime, gave there heart and soul, to that company, also worked at the factory most of there adult life, committed suicide, shortly after plant closed. Company made money by not paying pensions, to those nine hundred employees, but the human toll, was horrific, not just for those two guys, but several hundred other employees.
Another friend developed cancer, took his own life, rather than leave his wife destitute, because of the high medical costs, he would incur.
These stories are sad to hear, but even sadder is how the government is hiding behind fake unemployment numbers and job growth. Just because unemployment benefits have run out for someone or the government has stopped offering extensions of unemployment does not magically make them employed. Yet that is how the government views them. Your unemployment runs out and you no longer get counted by the government. Republicans and Democrats do not care about you. They only care about keeping their jobs and protecting their benefits.
That is the worst part of this last Presidential Election, the media never stopped to ask Obama or Romney these questions. We had three debates and each was worthless. I did not agree with everything Ross Perot said but he at least made the Republicans and Democrats have to answer some tuff questions.
We are on our own in this retirement battle.
The world teaches us to fill our lives with material things and selfish pursuits that can never fill our lives with purpose. When those things go away - and they always do - we're left with nothing. When you allow God in your life, no matter what your circumstances may be, you have a source that will never leave you empty and in despair.
People need high tech skills in this economy.The last 7 presidents sent the low
tech jobs oversees.
The situation sucks. But there is much that many could have done but did not do, to avoid its presence in their own lives.
How many boomers about to retire spent the previous 20 or more years living substantially beneath their means? Did they have one of the cheesier cars in the parking lot? Did they have a dinky apartment? Did they pack a lunch 99% of their days? Did they religoiusly clip coupons? Did they invest and save for the long haul?
Of course, the "Good American" contributors to our consumer economy will do none of the above. They'll live and spend and save on the premise that tomorrow's ever-improved income will pay for today's ever-increased debts. The "Good American" is what we are all supposed to be.
But if you think about it--for even a minute--wasn't it always ABUNDANTLY OBVIOUS that only a reckless gambler could afford to be the "Good American" consumer?
1. Re-implement the "Glass Steagal act of 1933"- it regulates the banks- Bill Clinton let it expire and created the so called great growth period.
2. Revamp the electoral college to reflect county by county electors, which report to the state electors, thus balancing the process and preventing 8 city's from controlling the nation. It doesn't matter if Oregon, Nevada , Hawaii, Alaska and several others even vote. or make it by popular vote and eliminate it all together.
3. Re-Establish a national bank of the people of the United states and abolish the federal reserve.
4. Re-Implement the constitutional tax code and eliminate the IRS- flat tax and be done. Everyone pays.
5. Remove the Rights of Imperpetuity that Corporations now have. Companies are not human and should not have the same rights- Its called regulation. CEO's and executives are responsible for their actions. Today the only price they pay is public shame- which means nothing.
6. Unite as a Nation of free people under laws and enforce those laws, all of them. End the era of exceptions. These laws are for citizens of the United states and no one else.
7. Establish Quid-pro- Quo, we are the only nation in the world that allows non-citizens to own land and property legally and with full protection of the law, as if you were a citizen, when you are not.
8. Do Not allow Any person, group, community, village, city, state, region to foster the continued Politically correct version of Bigotry, racism, discrimination or otherwise oppression of other people, for the simple social advancement of yet the same. "Live and let live"- stop the insanity! Ethnic or cultural differences, will manifest themselves as progress and harmony that co-exists under a united people for the common good and full protection of the Laws of the nation.
9. Re-establish the government of the People, by the People, for the People founded upon the constitution of the United States of America. When it says liberty and justice for all, it means all, there is no other version of definition of "all" and it is in reference to Citizens of the USA. If you are a legal citizen, it applies. If you are here legally, welcome to my nation, leave the bad behind, keep the good you bring and live free to prosper at your own hard work and effort. Assimilate to our nation, don't expect me to assimilate to you- in time I can learn to accept our petty differences.
10. Remove the tort laws, prior to the creation we did just fine. We don't need lawyers to argue guilt or innocence. The law is the law, all citizens are subject to it- there is no mitigating circumstances, no excuse to break the law- guilty or innocent. Send the message that we are a Nation of Law and it is to be applied equally and swiftly.
Most people don't know that the founding fathers made slavery, against the law when we became a country, and specifically abolished it at that time. It took 100 years before the fed's decided to enforce it and then only for their own political purposes- Not because "No man can be a slave"! look it up.
Give yourselves hope!
" ".~Benjamin Franklin- 1760
"" ~Barbra Hall- 2000
"" ~ John Stewart Mill- 1859
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