Thursday, May 18, 2023

Suicide deaths increasing in America. Elderly Americans have the highest suicide rate.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The number of suicide deaths in America has been steadily increasing, with some exceptions over the past few years. It is particularly concerning that since 2019, elder Americans have the highest suicide rate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that in 2021 there were 48,183 people who died by suicide representing 14.1 suicide deaths per 100,000. In 2020 there were 45,979 in 2020 representing 13.5 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. The US suicide rate was 10.7 per 100,000 people in 2001.

An argument used to legalize assisted suicide is the idea that assisted suicide will prevent some suicide deaths (deaths of despair) but the data indicates that where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal suicide rates don't decrease or remain steady but in fact increase.

The assisted suicide lobby have published articles justifying the assisted suicide deaths of elderly people and people with disabilities. Does the promotion of assisted suicide lead to a suicide contagion effect among older Americans?

It is concerning that in the past few years, the suicide rates have become highest among older Americans. In 2021, Americans over the age of 85 had the highest suicide rate with 20.86 deaths per 100,000 people and those aged 75 to 85 had the second highest suicide rate with 18.43 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. I am convinced that the rapid increase in the suicide rates among older Americans is related to the promotion of assisted suicide.

The suicide rate in Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal for more than 20 years, is higher than the national average at 19.5 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in 2021. 

It is important to note that in states that have legalized assisted suicide, such as Oregon that the assisted suicide deaths are not included in the suicide data.

Suicide rates have also increased in the Netherlands where euthanasia has been legal since 2002.

Professor Theo Boer, who is a former euthanasia case reviewer in the Netherlands published an article titled: Be careful what you wish for when you legalize active killing. Boer explains:
the percentage of euthanasia of the total mortality went from 1.6% in 2007 to 4.2% in 2019, the suicide numbers went also up: from 8.3 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2007 to 10.5 in 2019, a 15% rise. If we would include the deaths through assisted suicide in patients considered to be at risk of committing suicide (psychiatric patients, people with chronic illnesses, dementia patients, elderly and lonely people), the total increase in self chosen deaths over the past decade would be closer to 50% than to 15%. Meanwhile in Germany, very similar to the Netherlands in terms of religion, economy and population, the suicide rates went down by 10%.
The difficulty with suicide data is that there are many factors that affect the suicide rate. Nonetheless, there have been several studies that have indicated that legalizing assisted suicide leads to a suicide contagion effect.

Considering the fact that elder Americans now have the highest suicide rates. It is likely that the promotion of assisted suicide for elderly people and people with disabilities has affected the suicide rate among those demographics.

What is most concerning is the silence concerning the increase in the elder suicide rate. Suicide is always a tragedy.


dougsned said...

Why are you such a charlatan?

The paper by David Albert Jones that looked rates of suicides following legalization of MAID in various jurisdictions here:

This paper finds in the jurisdictions where MAID was legalized there was no significant change (increase or decrease) in regular suicides (non-assisted). This casts doubt on the suicide contagion argument against MAID. What was significant was a rise in 'self-initiated death' (inclusive of MAID), but virtually all of this increase was due to an increase in cases of MAID, NOT regular suicides.

Who would deny that after legalization of MAID there wouldn't be an increase in cases of said practice? It's a tautology and no proponent denied that. Legalize abortion and you will see a rise in cases of abortion. That's not an argument against the practice however.

You claim that one of the reasons Oregon has a higher suicide rate is due to having legal MAID. Let's look at the top 10 states with the highest and lowest suicide rates shall we:

Of the top ten US states with the highest suicide rates only 3 (NM, Montana, and CO) have legalized MAID. Furthermore of top 10, EIGHT are solid conservative red states (NM is blue and CO is purple).

Of the top ten states with the lowest suicide rates nine are solid liberal blue states (Pennsylvania is purple) and two (New Jersey and Cali) have legalized MAID. Rest of MAID states fall in between. In fact NJ has legal MAID and has the lowest suicide rate in the US.

There's absolutely no correlation between US states with legal MAID and suicide rates. There is a very strong correlation between conservative GOP religious states and suicide rates however.


dougsned said...

Why isn't my comment approved?

Alex Schadenberg said...

If you noticed my article that I have reposted several times. I do not post comments that are attacking people or rude, etc. You were attacking me. I published it because our regular readers will not be surprised by your comment.