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Published:October 9th, 2011 16:34 EST
The Unknown Faces of Suicide

The Unknown Faces of Suicide

By Donna Cavanagh

It`s not hard to make the connection between the failing economy and rising suicide rates, but many cities and communities do not react fast enough to prevent people from taking their own lives.  The most recent major study on suicide conducted in 2007 by the National Institute of Mental Health, showed that suicide was the seventh leading cause of death for males and the 15th leading cause for females. However, since that study was published, the economy has slumped into the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s when suicide reached its highest peak and accounted for 22 per 100,000 people taking their own lives.  Now, it is estimated that 11 out of 100,000 people commit suicide.

According to the CDC`s Division of Violence Prevention, economic problems can isolate people from their family and friends. The CDC believes that many deaths and suicides, which have occurred during this economic dip, were not properly attributed to the economic conditions.

Other factors which contribute to suicide include depression, other mental disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, s(e)xual abuse, violence in a household, physical and mental abuse, which includes bullying, and a family history of suicide or suicide attempts.

Another sobering note on suicide is that no age group is immune. According to the NIMH study, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 to 24, the elderly-- age 65 and older -- accounted for the highest percentage of suicides in the country with 14.3 per 100,000. Another increasing suicide risk comes from primary caretakers who receive little relief from their duties which are often physically and emotionally exhausting.   

The CDC and the NIMH recommend that communities and corporations recognize the added risk of suicide during this economic collapse. Schools and colleges need to reach out to young people on a more frequent basis. Strong family relationships and friendships also reduce the risk of suicide by providing emotional support and sometimes physical relief from situations such as caring for ill or incapacitated relatives.