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October 2015

Suicide and Social Processes

Author Affiliations
  • 1Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(10):965-967. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1065

Suicide evokes the image of a lonely, hopeless, deeply distressed person—nearly 80% are men—often influenced by alcohol or drugs, taking their lives following losses or disruptive life experiences. Younger persons’ suicides may be less contemplated but typically just as lonely and disconnected. Older persons, for whom planning is more common, are more lethal in their attempts, with older white men having the highest rates in the United States—occurring in the context of social isolation, pain, and medical problems that prune the scope of their lives. The greatest overall burdens in the United States occur among men and women in the middle years of life, which has fueled the recent stark increase in suicide rates in our country.1

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