Last updated: August 23. 2013 2:50AM - 319 Views

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The Lima New

A rampant increase in suicides across the nation is an alarm bell for mental health experts.

Suicide rates among Americans 35 to 64 years old rose 28 percent from 1999 to 2010, from 13.7 per 100,000 people to 17.6 per 100,000 people, the Center for Disease Control reported last week.

The results underscore the importance of prevention strategies that address the needs of persons aged 35-64 years. Currently most suicide research and prevention efforts have focused on youths and older adults.

While further research is needed to understand the cause for the rise in suicides, possible contributing factors included the recent economic downturn, a rise in intentional overdoses associated with the increased availability of prescription opioids, and a “cohort effect” particular to baby boomers, who also had notably high suicide rates during their adolescent years. There was no significant change in suicide rates among people aged 10 to 34 or 65 and older.

Allen County is following the trend as it also seeing an increase in suicides, although its increase is not as high as the national average. According to the Ohio Department of Health, Allen County has a suicide rate of 9.1 per every 100,000 persons and 76.7 percent of suicides within the county are male. The 45-54 age group has the highest suicide rate. In 2011, Allen County suffered 15 confirmed suicides, and eight pending investigation deaths.

Nationally, the greatest increases occurred in people 50 to 54 years old (up 48 percent) and among people 55 to 59 years old (up 49 percent). Among men, suicides in middle-aged people rose 27.3 percent; among women, 31.5%. Whites and Native Americans had steeper increases than other demographic groups. Rates increased in all states, whether they had relatively high, average or low suicide rates.

The CDC also analyzed mechanisms of suicide.

Men were most likely to turn to firearms or suffocation. There was an 81 percent increase in deaths caused suffocation (mostly hanging)

Women were more likely to choose poisoning or firearms. There was a 24-percent increase in poisoning.

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