Suicide rates are increasing and locally the number of suicides were either highest among those 20-44 or 45-74, as detailed in a recent Drawing Detroit blog post. According to a recent New York Times article, suicide is a cause of death that is not only growing in Southeastern Michigan, but nationally. Throughout the state of Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death for white males between the ages of 35 and 49 (244 suicides total).
The article details recent research conducted by Princeton Economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case, which concludes that the rising death rates among middle-aged white men are being caused by suicides and issues related to substance use. According to the article, the mortality rate for white Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 with no more than a high school education increased by 134 deaths per 100,000 people. While the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services does not detail mortality rates by race, age and education level explicitly on its website, it does show that the mortality rate from white males between the ages of 45 and 54 increased from 469.7 to 494.4 between 2000 and 2013. Just as the death rate for white American males is increasing nationally, Michigan is also experiencing the plight.
While suicide rates have contributed to the growing mortality rate for this segment of the population, Deaton and Case found that suicide coupled with deaths caused by drug use and alcohol poisoning are what explained the increased mortality rate.
No direct explanations were discovered for the increase in suicide deaths and deaths caused by drug and alcohol use, however, Deaton found that increases in mortality rates for middle aged white men were parallel with the same population’s reports on distress, pain and poor health. This correlation, he said, could be used a rationale for the increase in the type of deaths.
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To learn more about suicide rates in Southeastern Michigan click here.