An ecological study of temporal trends in ‘deaths of despair’ in England and Wales

There is growing interest in the concept of ‘deaths of despair’ (DoD)—defined as deaths from three causes: suicide, drug poisoning, and alcohol-related conditions—as a more comprehensive indicator of the impact of psychological distress on mortality. The purpose of this study is to investigate the degree of commonality in trends and geographic patterning of[…]

“Lives of despair” at risk for “deaths of despair”: Tracking an under‑recognized, vulnerable population

The substantial and unexpected increase in “deaths of despair” in the US (e.g., deaths from drug overdose, suicide, and alcohol-related liver diseases) reported by economists Case and Deaton in 2015 raises questions about the number and characteristics of US adults potentially living “lives of despair” with these problems. Methods
We used data[…]

Biblical versus Greek narratives for suicide prevention and life promotion: Releasing hope from Pandora’s urn

Although suicide has been unfortunately stigmatized unfairly through the ages, we should not make the mistake of going to the opposite extreme and valorizing it. We should not forget that the major role of health care professionals is to prevent suicide when possible and to invigorate the underlying life force in the person. Suicide is[…]

Association of job expectations among high school students with early death during adulthood

Objective  To estimate the risks of suicide and drug poisoning deaths among adult men whose adolescent occupational expectations were not met in adulthood. Design, Setting, and Participants  This cohort study included a sample of men interviewed as part of the High School and Beyond study, a nationally representative study of US high school sophomores and seniors in[…]

Suicide, overdose and worker exit in a cohort of Michigan autoworkers

Background In recent decades, suicide and fatal overdose rates have increased in the US, particularly for working-age adults with no college education. The coincident decline in manufacturing has limited stable employment options for this population. Erosion of the Michigan automobile industry provides a striking case study.
Methods We used individual-level data from a retrospective cohort study[…]

Associations of despair with suicidality and substance misuse among young adults

IMPORTANCE Deaths of despair is a term that has recently been used to describe the increases in premature mortality from suicides, drug overdoses (particularly from opiates), and alcohol-related liver disease among US adults. Despite the use of the term despair, its role in these causes of premature death has not been empirically tested. OBJECTIVE To[…]

Projected deaths of despair from COVID-19

More Americans could lose their lives to deaths of despair, deaths due to drug, alcohol, and suicide, if we do not do something immediately. Deaths of despair have been on the rise for the last decade, and in the context of COVID-19, deaths of despair should be seen as the epidemic within the pandemic. The[…]

Long-term trends in deaths of despair

Anne Case and Angus Deaton famously chronicled a dramatic rise among middleaged non-Hispanic whites since 1999 in “deaths of despair”—deaths by suicide, drug and alcohol poisoning, and alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis.1
The Social Capital Project has extended Case and Deaton’s research to cover the full American population as far back as available data[…]

‘Dead people don’t claim’: A psychopolitical autopsy of UK austerity suicides

One of the symptoms of post financial crisis austerity in the UK has been an increase in the numbers of suicides, especially by people who have experienced welfare reform. This article develops and utilises an analytic framework of psychopolitical autopsy to explore media coverage of ‘austerity suicide’ and to take seriously the psychic life of[…]

Can economic policies reduce deaths of despair?

Midlife mortality has risen steadily in the U.S. since the 1990s for non-Hispanic whites without a bachelor’s degree, and since 2013 for Hispanics and African-Americans who lack a bachelor’s degree. These increases largely reflect increased mortality from alcohol poisoning, drug overdose and suicide. We investigate whether these “deaths of despair” trends have been mitigated by[…]