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3. Suicide is rising in U.S., falling around world

Cover of the Economist with the headline "Staying alive"
Courtesy The Economist

"The suicide rate in America is up by 18% since 2000," The Economist writes in its lead editorial:

Why it matters: "This is not merely a tragedy; it matters politically, too. The rise is largely among white, middle-aged, poorly educated men in areas that were left behind by booms and crushed by busts. Their deaths are a symptom of troubles to which some see President Donald Trump as the answer. Those troubles should not be ignored."

But at a global level, "suicide is down by 29% since 2000 ... As a result, 2.8m lives have been saved in that time — three times as many as have been killed in battle."

  • "The decline is particularly notable among three sets of people ... young women in China and India ... middle-aged men in Russia ... old people all around the world."

Among the reasons for the decline among these groups: urbanization, fewer forced marriages, and social stability.

  • "Unemployed people kill themselves at around two-and-a-half times the rate of those in work. The financial crash of 2007-08 and the resulting recessions are reckoned to have caused an extra 10,000 or so suicides in America and western Europe. As crises recede and employment rises, so suicide tends to ebb."
  • "[F]alling poverty rates among the old, which have declined faster than among other groups globally, are reckoned to have contributed to the drop in the number of elderly suicides."

Go deeper: The best way to save people from suicide, from The Huffington Post.

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