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Senate Why are Americans so depressed? (Suicide is now #1 killer in USA)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ghost, Sep 26, 2012.


Has someone close to you (or you) ever been severely depressed, suicidal, or otherwise mentally ill?

  1. Yes

    29 vote(s)
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
  1. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    Suicide has surpassed car accidents as the No. 1 cause of injury-related death in the United States, according to new research.​

    From 2000 to 2009, the death rate for suicide ticked up 15 percent while it decreased 25 percent for car wrecks, the study found. Improved traffic safety measures might be responsible for the decline in car-crash deaths. As such, the researchers said similar attention and resources are needed to prevent suicide and other injury-related mortality.​

    Death by unintentional poisoning, which includes drug overdoses, came in third behind car wrecks and suicide after increasing 128 percent from 2000 to 2009. The data from 2010 would push that rise in death rate even higher, to 136 percent, study researcher Ian Rockett told LiveScience in an email. Prescription painkiller overdoses might be to blame for this drastic rise. Recent research has shown that in some states painkiller overdoses may be responsible for more deaths than suicide or car crashes.​

    "While I am going well beyond our data, my speculation is that the immediate driving force is prescription opioid overdoses," said Rockett, who is a professor at West Virginia University's School of Public Health. "There is much to be done in terms of both research and prevention."​

    The new study, published in the November 2012 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, also found that unintentional falls and homicide were the fourth and fifth causes of injury death, respectively. And overall, injury-related deaths were less common in females than males.​

    The research was based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics.​


    Earlier this year, we learned that suicide deaths had surpassed combat deaths for members of the U.S. military.

    Now we learn that suicide deaths have surpassed car accident deaths, becoming the #1 injury-related/non-disease killer for all Americans.

    We have also discussed at length, especially when there is another shooting or other act of mass violence, how "sick" American culture & society have become.

    Studies have also shown that at least 20% of Americans currently suffer from mental illness (higher among young adults), and at least 50% of Americans have experienced a mental illness (like severe depression) at least once during their lives.

    What is the cause of all this, what is wrong with American society? And how can society overcome it?

    I think this has been a taboo topic for far too long.
  2. The Loyal Imperial

    The Loyal Imperial Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 19, 2007
    I don't think you can narrow it down to just one cause, and I wouldn't say it's particularly unique to the U.S., either. I'd wager that it's more of a combination of certain recent events and several longstanding trends.
  3. SithLordDarthRichie

    SithLordDarthRichie CR Emeritus: London star 8

    Oct 3, 2003
    I would think the financial crisis has something to do with it, a lot of people have hit hard times with no apparent way out. Not to mention the rise in general costs of things like healthcare which make it hard to get treatment easily if you aren't that well-off.
    Darth_Invidious likes this.
  4. Sauntaero

    Sauntaero Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 9, 2003
    #1: why is suicide counted amongst "injury-related" statistics and not disease or illness?
  5. Darth Guy

    Darth Guy Chosen One star 10

    Aug 16, 2002
    Because death from suicide is directly caused by injury and not illness. Depression or whatever by itself doesn't kill.

    Also, the title is misleading. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, and maybe a few others dwarf suicide. They're just not "injury-related."

    And I expect the explanations for the increase are fairly simple: financial woes, war experience, and lack of access to proper mental health care.

    PRENNTACULAR VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 21, 2005
    Too much crap and not enough friends.
  7. Whitey

    Whitey Jedi Master star 6

    Jan 26, 2003
  8. EmpireForever

    EmpireForever Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 15, 2004
    Yeah but those things wouldn't be SENSATIONAL.
    Mar17swgirl and Lowbacca_1977 like this.
  9. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    There's been a short-term massive systemic shock to our economy, but also we're facing a long-term trend that is eroding the potential for middle class prosperity and pouring a greater percentage of our nation's wealth into the coffers of the richest 1% of Americans. I don't want to lay all of society's ills at the feet of widening income disparity, increase in poverty, and the erosion of the middle class, but I would not be surprised to find out that it is a major contributing factor to an increase in mental health problems. Severe, ongoing stress can cause lasting psychological trauma, particularly to children.

    As an anecdote, I know a family of six that lost its home in the real estate bust. The father also worked in construction and had made a killing buying up dilapidated homes, renovating them, and then selling them for sometimes 2-3x what he paid to get them. Suddenly, he was broke and out of work. A guy who had been clearing $250k a year was now taking odd jobs repairing people's roofs. Luckily his wife had a job, but she made a quarter of her husband's income at his earning peak. Even though they were able to find a small home to rent, losing their house devastated their credit rating and I'm sure had an impact on their self-esteem and sense of social status. We noticed that their son started to have problems in school, and we were fairly certain it had to do with the declining quality of his home life. Their home life has since stabilized a bit, and the husband's income flow has improved, but there are no signs that they will ever return to the level of income they were enjoying in 2006.

    So, there's a combination of factors. There are more children growing up in families without much or any financial stability under conditions of extreme stress (not just over finances) in their home lives. There are young adults coming out of high school and college who can't find decent work. There are older working adults who have had their sense of self worth and financial stability trampled by downsizing, outsourcing, and the Great Recession. And you have older Americans whose retirement planning was ripped apart by premature unemployment or significant losses in their retirement investments, zero percent interest rates, and massive loss in the values of homes they were hoping to sell, not to mention the basic difficulty of selling a home.

    I'm sure that's not the whole picture, but it's a part.
  10. Piltdown

    Piltdown Jedi Master star 5

    May 3, 2002
    Not really a Senate-worthy post.
  11. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    I see that statistic and wonder if it's a significant increase in suicides or a relative decrease in car accident fatalities that's to blame. In either case, it's still got nothing on the big illnesses.
  12. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master star 6

    Jun 28, 2006
    I am extremely skeptical of how this is handling numbers. I only read over it once and may have missed it, but I can't tell if we're talking total deaths, per capita, or share of deaths. And it's already been pointed out that this is looking at only non-disease deaths. I want some actual numbers and not just vague percentages.

    Gathering a few of them..... these are deaths for 2010 and the cause, in no particular order: suicide - 37793; motor vehicle accidents - 35080; accidental poisoning - 30781; cancers - 573855; septicemia - 34843; diabetes - 68905; Alzheimer's - 83308; cardiovascular disease - 777548; influenza and pneumonia - 50003; chronic lower respiratory diseases - 137789; chronic liver disease - 31802; nephritis - 50472; falls - 25903
  13. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    I couldn't see how they were looking at the prevalence either.

    But for females the rate has been much more consistent over time. Even though the rate among males has been increasing since 2000, it hasn't yet caught up to the 1991 rate per 100,000.
  14. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    Life is hard. Most people you interact with are idiots or angry or both. Joy is scarce. There is little in this life to pin hope to. Those would be the reasons.

    In case you can't tell, I deal with depression myself. It runs in my family and seems to be a chemical issue for me, at least partly, though the circumstances do play into things. It's more like a predisposition, I think, which is enough given the state of the world. I think the number one thing I'd say to everyone about depression is that if you're sad, you aren't depressed. You're just sad. When I'm depressed, I feel nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even "negative" emotions: not angry, not fear, not sadness. I just feel like someone else is inside my head; someone I don't know and someone who has no emotions at all. There have been days when I'd have killed to feel a "negative" emotion. It feels hot sometimes; inside my head and inside my chest. I don't know what causes that. But when you're in the middle of it, it's like there's no end in sight. You try everything you can to get even the tiniest emotion and nothing works. You're just utterly numb to everything. Or I am anyway. It's rough. You wouldn't think it would be hard to feel nothing, but it is. It's hell. It's like you're trapped in your own body, like a live soul in a dead body and you can't react to anything or anyone. You just want to feel something. Anything. And that's why people do bad things when they're depressed; they're trying to feel alive for even a second.

    Depression is different for everyone, of course. I'm really only speaking for myself. But it seems a lot of people confuse "depression" with "sadness." They aren't the same thing.
  15. Darth Guy

    Darth Guy Chosen One star 10

    Aug 16, 2002
    I'm the opposite, lol. I feel and think things so intensely that it's difficult to bear.
  16. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    Many people medicate for sadness though, and who's going to criticize them for doing it? I've had friends who've gone on antidepressants to cope with the death of parents or to help ease the journey through a cancer diagnosis. Many people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between clinical depression and grief. Life marches ever deathward. It's a challenging reality.
  17. Arawn_Fenn

    Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost star 7

    Jul 2, 2004
    This is a depressing thread.
  18. LifeInTechnicolor

    LifeInTechnicolor Jedi Knight star 3

    Sep 3, 2012
    I wanted to kill myself 4 years ago.I felt worthless.I'm still dealing with self injury.
  19. Kiki-Gonn

    Kiki-Gonn Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 26, 2001
    It's as depressing as it is poorly titled.
  20. Billy_Dee_Binks

    Billy_Dee_Binks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 29, 2002
    I too have gone through some very dark times within the previous 2-3 years, having been confronted with the passing of close family members, social alienation, self-doubt, physical and mental exhaustion, frustration, future plans becoming seemingly irrelevant, etc. Times where I just wanted to resign from life and sleep eternally.

    I was lucky to get one of the few health insurance covered psychotherapy spots that are given out each year. It lasted three years, on a regular basis and gave me many opportunities to reflect on the present situation and coping with it. In hindsight I think it gave me a purpose each week, even though often I wouldn't have a direct gain from these session. Yet it probably helped prevent the worst case scenario.

    It's interesting how radically ones emotions towards the concept of suicide can shift over time. I remember being puzzled by the idea of a person killing themselves out of sheer depression a couple of years ago, yet jumping ahead to the past two years it seemed to be viable option to take into consideration throughout several phases.

    There's definitely a snowball effect to depression, especially for people like me who tend to overthink, who are unable to shut off their thoughts when necessary. The balance between thought and taking practical action was completely out of order, which I've concluded is a major contributor to depression, at least in my case. At some point the weight of things I thought I needed or wanted to do became overbearing and basically "threw a wrench in the machine".

    Probably one of the reasons that cause suicide rates to go up around the World is the fact that nowadays people are expected of being so much more productive and versatile in times where everything is driven on a globalised scale. People simply can't cope with what is suddenly demanded of them, set against huge competition created through the racing modernisation of our lives.

    I've ended my psychotherapy on my on terms in late July, after attending it regularly for three years. I was also on a minimal dosage of anti-depressants from March or April until last week. I felt I no longer needed these things, that it was time to move on. Note that all of these decisions where planned ahead for months.

    Not that I am suddenly a completely different person, melancholy and hearkening back to the nostalgic perception I had of the World during childhood still re-occur on a daily basis, it's simply who I am, but I manage to balance it out with doing productive things that affect my present and future. I'm trying to combine future plans with the emotional joys I experienced prior to when life started taking a downturn. In a way depression, if treated right, can be somewhat beneficial to mental growth. I've learned a lot through the experiences I've made and while some of the scars will remain, I feel I came out a more resolute person, all the while becoming more cautious of the randomness of life and no longer take anything for granted. This may sound seemingly contradictory in theory, but so far it has worked for me.

    Obviously there is no clearcut solution to depression, but keeping yourself occupied and most importantly breaking the mold every once in a while can go a long way to help people who are going through a general depressive phase in their life.

    To sum it up, I find it relatable why people choose opting out of life on their own term simply because they no longer have the strength to carry on. It takes a lot of time, patience and work till things change, something not everyone has available or is capable of. Sometimes glimmers of hope end up not coming to fruition and you have to start back up. It's a difficult process with many twists and turns. Suicidal people have my empathy and so do their families and friends, who end up the true victims of another persons' suicide, because it's up to them having to continue living with that burden.
  21. Billy_Dee_Binks

    Billy_Dee_Binks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 29, 2002
    Seriously? I killed this thread with an honest post, just like that?
    Guess I derailed the conversation and should have kept my story to myself?

    Edit: "Killed" may have been a poor choice of words, considering the topic. :oops:
  22. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    Don't be depressed about it. Killing threads is honest work.

    "Smile more," was the best advice I ever got. So I perform happiness rituals on a daily basis. Simulated happiness is so close to the real thing, and less complicated. It frees up my mind to run through global doomsday scenarios without a corresponding emotional cost.

    I have two words for you: ocean acidification.
  23. Billy_Dee_Binks

    Billy_Dee_Binks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 29, 2002
    I just watched a funny video that made me bust out laughing insanely (think Mark Hamill's Joker laugh), so much so I got a lump in my throat and started tearing up. Not that it is ROTF funny (although the 4PlayerPodcast guys are genuinely very funny), it just got over me.

    This must be part of the delayed post-anti depressants discontinuation side effects I've been feeling since today. There's also that "random brain twitching" feeling. I once abruptly discontinued them for a week in late July, because I ran out of them, so I know the almost drunk-like state you're initially experiencing when going "cold turkey" on them without slowly reducing the dosage over time. So I got back on them after that one week and it went back to normal. This time I very slowly decreased the dosage, which was very low to begin with, yet still these side effects started to set in today, nearly two weeks after I stopped taking it.

    Man, my head is still tickling all over from outburst.

    I wish I could trigger that whenever I want to, heard it's supposed to be good for your health, unless you overdo it and can't breathe any longer, of course. :)
  24. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    Could our healthcare system do more? Would it be feasible to treat mental illnesses similar to physical illnesses?
  25. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000
    I don't think so, no-physical illnesses are well, physical in nature. You can't really pretend to yourself you don't have cancer :p.

    Depression/mental illnesses in general are fairly easy for people to rationalize away.