My bullying series uncovers key insights and profiles young people who have committed suicide due to bullying (commonly called bullycide). Click here to read my series from the beginning.

Lead Them Home is a voice within the evangelical community working towards the prevention of bullying and suicide among teens and young adults wrestling with sexual and gender identity issues. Without getting distracted from our mission, I want to briefly note that suicide is declining among teens while increasing in almost every other age group in the general population. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control.
Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System
(WISQARS) [online]. (2005) {Cited on November 4, 2010}
Available from: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars

The sharp knife of a young life cut short by suicide may be “sharp” not because the numbers in this age group outpace other age groups, but because we are deeply impacted by young people giving up at a time when life is supposed to be full of future hopes and dreams. With older age groups far outpacing teen suicide both as a percentage of age group population and in absolute numbers, it would appear – for some – that youthful “hopes and dreams” are getting crushed or fading away with age.

In absolute terms, the 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 age groups have experienced the most significant rise in suicide. The annual number of  suicides for the 45 to 54 group increased 43% (or 2,341) from 2000 to 2007, while the 55 to 64 group increased a whopping 72% (or 2,124). If we compare 2007 rates against the average annual suicides over this period, suicide increased 17% for the 45 to 54 group and 28% for the 55 to 64 group. These are dramatic rises. 

By comparison, suicide in the 10 to 14 and 15 to 19 groups declined 40% and 9%, respectively, over this 2000 to 2007 period. Against the average annual suicides over this period, 2007 rates are 29% lower for the 10 to 14 group and 6% lower for the 15 to 19 group. As noted in previous posts, the 20 to 24 group has seen rises – increasing 12% from 2000 to 2007. Against the average annual suicides over this period, 2007 rates are 5% higher for the 20 to 24 group.

Once again, I do not want to get away from the focus of Lead Them Home. I simply thought it was important to note the wider problem of suicide in America as people age. The sharp knife of suicide cuts not only “short” lives, but also those of us that have been around a while. No matter how old you are, persistent suicidality  is good reason to reach out for help. You are worth it! Call a pastor, mentor, family member or friend today. If you need additional non-emergency guidance, please feel free to contact me. God bless you.

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