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Iowa Follows Troubling National Trend of Increased Suicide

PHOTO: September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Iowa is following a tragic national trend of increased suicides. Image credit: MilitaryHealth
PHOTO: September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Iowa is following a tragic national trend of increased suicides. Image credit: MilitaryHealth
September 3, 2013

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - September is Suicide Prevention Month and, as the trend of more suicides continues nationally, similar figures are being reported in Iowa. According to Deb Peddycoart, quality director at Foundation 2, a suicide prevention and crisis center in Cedar Rapids, the official numbers for 2012 aren't yet final, but in the previous decade, the total increased by nearly 40 percent.

"Looking at the span between 2001 - at that point, we had 304 deaths by suicide in Iowa - and in 2011, there were 420 deaths by suicide in Iowa."

Peddycoart's advice is that, if someone is talking about suicide or feeling hopeless and depressed, friends and family members should take it seriously and help connect that person with any available medical or mental-health resources. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK or 8255.

Peddycoart said that while young people are always at heightened risk of suicide, elderly white men are at greatest risk and lately, there has been a troublesome increase in suicides among middle-aged Americans, some possibly linked to the down economy of recent years.

"Middle-aged women, as well as middle-aged men, again primarily white, are killing themselves in greater numbers," she said. "I think so much of the attention has been focused, and rightly so, on adolescent suicide, but for an age group, their suicide rate is not particularly high, compared to that of older people."

Nationally, the suicide rate among people ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent between 1999 and 2010.

More information is at bit.ly/17ePgxI and at 1.usa.gov/171jvvo.


John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA