Mental Health

The Growing Problem of Suicide in America

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal a startling statistic about suicide in the United States. Since 1999, deaths by suicide have increased by approximately 30%. Further, suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the CDC. The CDC report also found that many decedents did not have a known mental health condition.

Common triggering events include relationship problems, physical ailments, financial stress, housing or employment loss. Substance abuse was also a common occurrence in those who died by suicide. States and communities can take action to help address this growing problem and identify people who are at risk. To read the Vital Signs report, visit the CDC Vital Signs website.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That number is 1-800-273-8255.

Could Alzheimer's Prevalence Triple by 2050?

In the 1980s, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) began funding Alzheimer’s Disease Centers throughout the United States in response to the imminent threat of an Alzheimer’s public health problem. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, made similar commitments of investment. Our understanding of Alzheimer’s has grown as a result of efforts of academic researchers and the pharmaceutical industry to identify treatment approaches and medication to treat the symptoms of the disease.

Still, the disease mystifies us. According to the “2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” about 5.7 million Americans are now living with Alzheimer’s dementia. This number is expected to grow to more than 7 million by 2025 and as many as 14 million by 2050.

There are no available treatments to cure or even effectively slow the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. Curing Alzheimer's, while a distant lofty goal, is the only way to decrease the burden of this disease on families and communities. Meanwhile, the research and medical community must work together to identify evidence-based practices that reduces the burden of this disease. Collaborative care models will prove beneficial once tried and tested in a variety of settings.

Below is a roundup of literature on Alzheimer's Disease.

The Polluted Brain: Evidence builds that dirty air causes Alzheimer's, dementia (Science)

Study: Traumatic brain injuries linked to dementia (US News)

Blood test for toxic amyloid may detect Alzheimer's 8 years before symptoms, study says (Alzheimer's News Today)

Long-term SSRI use may slow progression to Alzheimer's Dementia (American Psychiatric Association)