Suicide rates among Americans 35 to 64 years old rose 28% from 1999 to 2010, from 13.7 per 100,000 people to 17.6 per 100,000 people, the CDC reported Thursday.
The greatest increases occurred in people 50 to 54 years old (up 48%) and among people 55 to 59 years old (up 49%). Among men, suicides in middle-aged people rose 27.3%; 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 agency also analyzed mechanism of suicide. Suffocation (mostly hanging) rose 81% over the time period; poisoning (mostly drug overdose), 24%; and death by firearm, 14%. Men were most likely to turn to firearms or suffocation. Women were more likely to choose poisoning or firearms.
“Most suicide research and prevention efforts have focused on youths and older adults,” wrote the CDC research team, in an editorial note accompanying the report. “The results underscore the importance of prevention strategies that address the needs of persons aged 35-64 years.”