Suicide incidences in the United States have been increasing at an alarming rate in the last twenty years. However, this worrying trend only comes to the forefront when beloved people, such as famous artists, take their own lives (Miron et al. 2363). This should not be the case, as mental health experts have observed the rise in suicide rates across all social classes and ethnicities. Therefore, a close examination of the causes of the recent spike in suicide cases is necessary to prevent further incidents.
Firstly, the loss of economic opportunities is an essential contributor to the country’s rapid rise in suicide rates. The millennial generation has the unfortunate distinction of being the first generation of Americans to be worse off economically than their parents (Miron et al. 2364). This is because of a reduction in job security and business opportunities, especially in minority groups. Subsequently, young people feel a lack of control of their future, which has led to desperation and suicidal tendencies. Thus, the lack of job prospects and hope for a better future has driven many young Americans to suicide.
Secondly, the opioid epidemic has led to a rise in suicide rates. The United States has faced an overdosing crisis due to an over-prescription of opioids by health professionals (Miron et al. 2364). Aggressive marketing by big pharmaceutical companies, including giving a large financial incentive to doctors, is responsible for causing the increased usage of opioids (Miron et al. 2364). Consequently, the addictive nature of the drugs leads to suicidal ideations among users. Therefore, many Americans’ addiction to opioids has led to an uptick in suicide rates in many states.
Thirdly, teenagers’ increased use of social media has led to poor mental health and high levels of suicide among youngsters. Teenagers worldwide are among the largest users of social media applications (Twenge et al. 7). However, they are also the most susceptible to the harmful effects of excessive socializing over the internet. Bullying by other users and undue comparisons causes mental health problems such as depression and suicide (Twenge et al. 11). Unfortunately, access to mental health professionals is inadequate in most parts of the country. Thus, the adverse effects of excessive social media are responsible for the increased suicide rates among teenagers.
Fourthly, the easy accessibility to guns has increased suicide incidences in the country. The United States has had difficult discussions about the lax firearm laws in the country due to several mass shootings in the past, some of which the shooters died of self-inflicted wounds (Ivey-Stephenson et al.1). The role easy gun acquisition had played in increasing suicide rates is evidenced by the fact that most gun deaths are suicides. The decision to take one’s own life is usually an impulse, and the availability of weapons that kill instantly increases the risk of suicide attempts. Therefore, the mass ownership of guns is a reason for the recent rise in suicides in the country.
Lastly, the improvement in reporting of suicide incidents may explain the gradual rise in suicide rates. A less ominous reason for the spike in suicide rates in the country is more rigorous documentation cases (Miron et al. 2363). Additionally, the rise in people’s willingness to approach mental health workers when faced with psychological problems has enabled the tracking of high-risk individuals (Miron et al. 2362). Subsequently, the individuals are monitored and given support when necessary. Unfortunately, some individuals eventually succumb to self-harm despite the best efforts by health care workers.
In conclusion, many factors are responsible for the rise in suicide rates in the United States in the past two decades. The lack of hope in future economic prospects coupled with the opioid epidemic and easy accessibility to guns has culminated in a rapid rise in suicide rates. Additionally, excessive use of social media by teenagers has caused rising suicide rates in school-going children. However, improvements in the documentation of suicide rates may also be responsible for the high suicide rates.
Twenge, Jean M., et al. “Increases in Depressive Symptoms, Suicide-Related Outcomes, and Suicide Rates among US Adolescents after 2010 and Links to Increased New Media Screen Time.” Clinical Psychological Science, vol. 6, no. 1, 2018, pp. 3-17. Web.
Miron, Oren, et al. “Suicide Rates among Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States, 2000-2017.” Jama, vol. 321, no. 23, 2019, pp. 2362-2364. Web.
Ivey-Stephenson, Asha Z., et al. “Suicide Trends among and within Urbanization Levels by Sex, Race/Ethnicity, Age Group, and Mechanism of Death—United States, 2001–2015.” MMWR Surveillance Summaries, vol. 66, no. 18, 2017, p. 1-16. Web.