What's Driving America's Suicide Problem?

"The stats that Siegel cites are bleak: anxiety 'rose 36 percent' between 2016 and 2017, while America’s 'suicide rate increased by 33 percent between 1999 and 2017.'" - Intellectual Takeout

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Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that a very likely "cause" for the 36% rise in anxiety from 2016 to 2017 is the election of President Trump.  If the author's numbers are derived from actual diagnoses, one must raise one of two questions.  First, are these real cases of anxiety, or do some people just need to be told "your candidate lost--get over it!  Life will go on!"?  Second, if these are real cases of anxiety--cases that would still exist if DSM were perfectly aligned to real mental health--then we need to assume that "external causes" are indeed a major cause of mental illness.  

Either way, good opportunities for ministry.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture


Came across this today...

Just one study in one state, but interesting: Study: Drug-caused suicides in Utah underestimated by 33%

About the article: sometimes increases in a condition are really increases in reporting. We see this ambiguity all the time in the law enforcement sector. Did "crime increase" in this area during this period, or were people in some way enabled to better report incidents? (Or were the cops more aggressive in tracking it down and making arrests even though reporting was flat?) Likewise, was a decrease in crime really a decrease, or people not reporting it? (Or did police shift focus to some other crime or area, or lose personnel, etc.?)

We see a similar pattern with various social ills, especially with mental health if a new "disorder" is identified or recategorized under a different heading, there's more data in that pigeon hole, so, an increase in n but maybe not really an increase in the phenomenon itself.

The suicide trend is well attested though. It may be reported better but not "enough better" to account for the overall increases.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.