Is Suicide Illegal In The United States?

Is Suicide Illegal In The United States

Suicide is viewed as a crime in quite several countries in the world today. Even though it has been decriminalized in several western countries, it is still viewed with stigma and heavily discouraged these places. Suicide has been used in different places for different purposes. In some parts of the world, it is seen as a tool for protesting against socio-economic suppression and the likes. In some places, the rate of suicide is high because of widespread depression that may be a result of various factors. But, is suicide illegal in the United States. We will answer this and a host of other related questions in this piece.

Is suicide illegal in the United States?

Not really. Some of the states in America often do not take any legal action against you if you carry out an attempted suicide. However, most of the states would put you under a three days watch for observation if they get to know of your attempt. Even though it is not legal, it can’t be termed as illegal. It, therefore, suffices to say that you would not be arrested and sent to jail for attempting to kill yourself. But you would be arrested and admitted to a psychiatric facility. The 72 hours holding period is to allow you to review yourself and probably evaluate you and give you the needed solution. If they, however, are not satisfied with your progress after 72 hours, you could be held for longer periods to ensure that you are stable enough.  It is illegal in the United States to assist someone in committing suicide. This could be viewed as manslaughter.

What Is The History Behind Suicide?

In the times of the ancient Athenians, a person who died by committing suicide was deprived of the honors that come with a normal burial. in this case, the person would be buried alone far from the city without any marker or headstone. But an ordinance by Louis XIV back in 1670 came with more serious punishment. It stipulated that the dead person’s body would be drawn face down through the street and then thrown away. Added to this was the fact that the person’s property would be confiscated. In many places, assisted suicide is viewed as a crime whether it is done indirectly or directly. In some places, it is viewed as illegal to encourage a person to commit suicide. There is however an exception with physician-assisted suicide.

How Much Of An Issue Is Suicide In The United States

Suicide is a major issue in the public health sector of America. For instance, in 2017, there was a record of 47,173 deaths by suicide which was an increase in previous years. It is on record that the yearly suicide rate in America grew by 24% from 1999 to 2014. This meant an increase from 10.5% to 13.0 suicides for every 100,000 people which was the highest rate that was recorded in almost three decades. There is also a belief that suicide is grossly underreported due to the stigma that is associated with it. Research has consistently shown that suicide rates in America have continued to grow each year. And some of the major triggers include drug overdoses, suicide, and alcoholism.

In 2015, it was reported that suicide was the seventh main cause of death of males and 14th for the females. It was also recorded as the second main cause of death for people who were aged between 15 to 34 and the third for those between 10 and 14 years of age. It, therefore, suffices to say that suicide is an epidemic in America.

Scary Numbers

Dating back to 2008, suicide has been recorded to be the tenth leading cause of deaths in America. It should be noted that what is obtainable in America is not the same as If you have ever lost any loved person to suicide or perhaps manned a suicide helpline, you will know that the numbers have a way of turning a serious issue into one represented by numbers. But for us to better understand how widespread the issue is, it is imperative to have numbers. A research conducted by the Center for Disease Control showed that between 1999 and 2016, there has been a rise in the rate of suicides in all states aside from Nevada.  For instance, in 30 states, the rates jumped by almost 25 percent, in 17 other states, by at least a third. And on a national scale, it increased by about 33 percent.

other parts of the developed world.  For instance, countries like Canada, Great Britain, and China are all noted to have quite lower rates of suicide than America. Also, data from the World Bank indicates that the rate of suicides fell in 2016 from 12.8 per 100,000 to 10.6 per 100,000 in 2016. In places like China and Japan, it has been on a steady decline during the past decade.

It is also known that the suicide rates are about double in the rural counties what it is in the urban areas. It is also worthy of note that a larger number of people in rural areas own guns than those in suburbs and cities. This has, in turn, led to a higher rate of suicides by a gunshot which is the most used means of suicide in the country. There is also a disparity with gender as well, with the rate being higher among men than women. Another contributing factor is education. For instance, the suicide rate is lower among people with college degrees. But those who have at best a high school diploma have a double chance of committing suicide. Also, people who earn more have a lower chance of committing suicide.

What Is The Link Between Stress And Suicide Rates?

There has been an apparent surge in the period where the working class has seen more stress and hardship. Factors such as an increase in competition from foreign countries and the outsourcing of jobs have to lead to greater job loss. This is especially so in sectors such as steel, manufacturing, and mining which have long been the backbone of the employment market. Also, the remaining jobs often pay less and offer reduced benefits.

Also, changes in technology such as robotics, computerization and the advent of artificial intelligence have begun to take their toll on labor in several ways. This has made many Americans especially those without a college degree and above the age of 50 in a difficult situation especially as it comes to finding jobs that pay well. Also, the absence of anything that looks like an industrial policy like that of Europe has made these situations even more painful for the average American worker. There has also been a decline in private-sector union membership. This has meant that there is a reduction in their ability to demand increased wages via the tool of collective bargaining.

Also, the median wage has not witnessed any significant growth, especially over the past four decades. This is even though there has been a rise in worker productivity. The stagnation in wages has made it increasingly difficult for the average working-class Americans to get by not to talk of having the type of lifestyle they desire.

There has also been an increase in the gap between the earnings of those at the bottom and top of American society. For instance, since 1979, the wages of the Americans in the 10th percentile has only increased by a mere 1.2 percent. But it was a bit better for those in the 50th percentile with a gain of 6 percent. But those in the 90th percentile saw a jump by about 34 percent and so on.

Though the relationship between suicide and economic inequality is one that remains quite unclear, one can’t deny the possible relationship. It is a fact that in places in Western Europe where it appears that the suicide rate is less; there are better opportunities and standards of living. Data available shows that as income inequality increases, so also does the suicide rate increase. It, therefore, means that progressive economic policies should be the aim of leadership at all levels.

The Effect Of Race On Suicide Rates

One factor that seems a bit confusing is the link between race and the rate of suicides in America. For instance, even though the whites live better off economically, the suicide rate is quite higher among them than the blacks. The statistics show that black adults stood a better chance of being victims of homicides while the white adults had a higher tendency of committing suicide.

Final Word

Suicide is not categorically illegal in America, but it is also not legal. The rate of suicides in the country has seen a steady rise over the years due to several reasons. It, therefore, suffices to say that concerted efforts should be made to provide lasting solutions to the underlying issues.

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