Is Suicide Becoming More Common?

While more than 50 percent of completed suicides occur among men between the ages of 25 and 45, the rate of self-inflicted deaths is also increasing among much younger people.

While more than 50 percent of completed suicides occur among men between the ages of 25 and 45, the rate of self-inflicted deaths is also increasing among much younger people.

Some news reports have focused on once happy and successful people committing suicide because of economic or relationship failures. The rate of completed suicides has indeed increased since the recession that began in 2008, according to a study published in “The Lancet” medical journal. In 2012, suicide became the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States. Previously, car accidents were the primary factor behind fatal injuries.

While more than 50 percent of completed suicides occur among men between the ages of 25 and 45, the rate of self-inflicted deaths is also increasing among much younger people. Since the 1950s, young adults have become three times more likely to commit suicide. The increased rate of drug and alcohol abuse may be a factor that has helped cause more people to choose to take their own lives. About 75 percent of people who chose suicide as a way out had marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, or heroin in their bodies.

Untreated depression is a major cause of self-inflicted death, even with the increasing popularity of psychotherapy and the advent of effective antidepressants such as Prozac and Wellbutrin. Most societies still view some types of mental illness as a form of “craziness” or “weakness” which discourages some people from getting the help they need to avoid attempting or committing suicide.

Suicide attempts are actually illegal in most parts of the world. A suicidal person can legally be confined to a psychiatric ward for a period of time. The stigma of being involuntarily committed may also cause some people to avoid seeking assistance during an emotional crisis.