2022 was not a banner year for Americans. Our economy crashed into the side of the mountain thanks to Bidenomics. People are watching their family-owned businesses being swallowed up by big business, and the mental health crisis is raging across the nation. It’s no surprise that suicides for 2022 ended the year with just under 50,000 victims per the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
Released as a part of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimates the suicide rate at 14.3 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1941. Given the fact that the 49,449 count is simply a provisional figure, many expect that number to climb in the final report. In 2021 the total was 48,183; this means in 2022 there has been a 2.6% increase.
To little surprise, men made up the majority of the statistic with 39,255 boys and men who took their own lives. By comparison, 10,194 girls and women made the same decision. For the ladies this marked a 3.8% increase; and 2.3% for men. While men report more suicidal feelings than women, it is the women who go through with it the most.
When broken down by age and sex, senior men are leading the way with 44 per 100,000 men over 75 making that choice. For many the pain of losing the partner, going senile, or simply chronic pain is too much to continue with. Then there’s the battle with feeling left behind and without value.
According to Dr. Yeates Conwell, a psychiatry professor at the University of Rochester, “Older men in our society tend not to have the skills in developing and maintaining close relationships with as many other people as do women in our culture. There’s too much identity tied up in one’s work, so that is lost [after retirement]. And then there’s the cultural script of what maleness means in our culture, so men just won’t admit or won’t receive care for depression because of that sense that it’s somehow not what a man does.”
For those dealing with this pain, a text or phone call to 988 can be a great lifeline. Veterans have a personalized extension and trained fellow Veterans are available to help. With resources available, they can help get the people they need. After making it this far in 2023, we can finish strong. While it won’t get any better with Biden in office, he can’t make it much worse before the end of the year, and he’ll be a lame duck in 2024. This means we have something to hope for, and we can carry on.