“Deaths of Despair” (suicides) continue to rise among Americans in Midlife

The primary reason I started my blog Midlife Crisis Queen in 2007 was to offer resources and hope to Americans in midlife. I had just been through some really tough times in my late 40s, culminating in a major shift in perspective and priorities.

Through my writing and books I tried to share what I had learned about the natural changes we all go through as we get into our 40s, and start to question so many of our previous decisions and choices.

I knew that hopeless feeling that I had made work a priority that was not fulfilling me, and I had no real love in my life. I also cautioned others about the grim statistics we were seeing among 45-54 year old Americans. 

So I was not surprised to see this report today. In a shocking reversal of earlier trends, the death rate among Americans of European-American heritage age 45-54, increased dramatically between 1999 and 2013.

mortality midlife Americans“The increased deaths were concentrated among those with the least education and resulted largely from drug and alcohol “poisonings,” suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis. This midlife mortality reversal had no parallel in any other industrialized society or in other demographic groups in the United States.” “

This report also cited “evidence of declining mental and physical health among whites ages 45 to 54 between 1999 and 2013. According to national surveys, mental illness rose.There were significant increases as well in the percentages reporting poor health, chronic pain, and difficulties with such activities as walking a quarter mile, climbing ten steps, and socializing with others. The percentage reporting themselves unable to work doubled.” 

What I found and still find most disturbing about data like this is the lack of interest by just about everybody that this is happening in our country. Half a million Americans have died with no real interest from government, the media or anyone.

The authors of this study observe “a dire collapse of hope, and that same collapse may be propelling support for more radical political change. Much of that support is now going to Republican candidates, notably Donald Trump.”

7 thoughts on ““Deaths of Despair” (suicides) continue to rise among Americans in Midlife

  1. I saw this on the news today. I think it’s due to the contrast of Europe with its more safety net of social services for all…health, education, retirement, etc. Also our educational system here in the public schools is so bad and the anti science rhetoric of the religious right, undermines a quality education for all.


  2. Yes Mary, that and the economic inequalities that can only lead to the downfall of America and our new and bad bombastic politics. In Europe they feel that something is wrong with their system if others are killing themselves. IN our country we tend to blame the victim…


  3. Hi Laura Lee! Yes shocking for sure. I agree with Mary’s comment above that it speaks to the lack of safety nets for social services–especially in the demographic most affected. What is almost more shocking is that anyone would think someone like Donald Trump could be the answer to any of our needs!!! ~Kathy


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