According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US suicide rates are the highest they’ve been since World War II. Life expectancy, on the other hand, has fallen for three straight years, in part because of the rise in drug overdoses and suicides.

Indigenous people are suffering hard

The overall US suicide rate went up 33% since 1999, but for indigenous women and men, the rate increased by 139% and 71% respectively.

As a result of “historical trauma”, or in other words, white Europeans coming over and committing genocide on their people, Native Americans suffer from the highest rates of poverty of any racial group and have lower rates of high school graduation. They also face the highest rates of alcoholism of any racial group.

Moreover, more than half of Native American women have reported being sexually assaulted and more than 1/3 of indigenous women who have been raped have contemplated suicide, and 13% have attempted.

The struggle is real for young people

Compared to 2000, there were 47% more suicides among 15~19-year-olds in 2017. Suicide ranked as the second-leading cause of death right below traffic accidents for people between ages 15 and 24 as well.

CDC and Harvard Medical School think the upward trend in suicides among young people might be connected to the opioid crisis. Researchers at Harvard Med also believe social media could also be playing a role in the increase.

The govt isn’t doing enough

17.3M, or 7%, of all U.S. adults reported suffering at least one major depressive episode in the past year. However, the efforts to address mental issues are still not here.

New Zealand, in May, introduced the world’s first $1.2 billion “Wellbeing Budget” for mental health. Compared on per-capita basis, NZ will be investing 15 times more money in mental health than the US govt.

*If you’re feeling down and out, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a trained crisis worker 24/7. If you’d rather just text someone, then you can text “HOME” to Crisis Text Line at 741741 for free 24/7 response.

 

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