(NaturalNews) They are supposed to be in the "Golden Years" of their lives, enjoying the fruits of their lifelong labors and living out their remaining years in relaxing happiness. But sadly, for an increasing number of baby boomers, chronic illness capped with depression have led many to suicide.
Take the case of Michael Kelly, a 65-year-old Vietnam veteran who, in the waning hours of Dec. 24, 2011, walked into his darkened back yard near Sacramento High School and hanged himself from a beam on the deck.
"I just relive it in my head," says his widow, Cathy Kelly, of her husband, who suffered from bipolar disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. She was separated from Michael when he killed himself.
"I know the dark hole of being really low. How sad he must have felt walking out there in the dark," she told the Sacramento Bee newspaper. "That's what I think about most."
Few answers yet
Per the newspaper:
Although experts have long thought of midlife as a time of stability and emotional contentment, baby boomers are proving to be an unfortunate exception. Reversing a longtime demographic trend, midlife suicides are on the rise for the generation born between 1946 and 1964.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate for people in this age group has risen in recent years by nearly 30 percent. In the decade ending in 2010, the same time period, people 85 and older - the demographic most likely to kill themselves, traditionally - has fallen by 12 percent, the CDC says.
The agency says that for the entire U.S. population the rate of suicide was 12.4 per 100,000, but that for the 45-54 age group the figure is 19.6 per 100,000 in 2010 and 55-64, the rate was 17.5 per 100,000.
'It's time for us to figure out what's going on'
"Historically, people in this middle-aged group have had flat rates of suicide," Julie Phillips, the Rutgers University social demographer whose research helped identify the trend, told the SacBee. "After 50 to 60 years of data, to see this spike for this generation, it's time for us to figure out what's going on."
For now, however, suicide experts and other researchers don't have a lot of answers, only theories as to why the middle years have become more prone to suicide.
"We don't really know, but the increase in this middle-aged group is thought to be in part because of the economy," Paula Clayton, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention medical director, said. "It's always been known that during a period of unemployment, there are higher rates of suicide. That was even clear in the 1920s."
Higher rates of unemployment and a concurrent lack of medical coverage could be leading some to refrain from seeking help for depression.
"With the instability in the economy and the housing market, we've noticed a lot of people calling the crisis line with anxiety, depression and sometimes suicidal ideation," said Diane Sommers, executive director of the Suicide Prevention of Yolo County crisis line.
As bad as it sounds, there are solutions to depression - natural ones, at that
There are a number of things that can cause the kind of depression that can eventually lead someone to choose suicide: living with pain; being diagnosed with a new, debilitating disease; the side effects of depression medication.
And while we here at NaturalNews are as mystified as researchers as to the increased levels of suicide among baby boomers, we are prepared to offer some solutions:
Five great herbs for fighting depression. Rhodiola rosea (Crassulaceae); St. John's Wort; Camu Camu; Maca; and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) have all been found to reduce depression because they contain powerful antidepressant compounds and nutrients.
Get off the couch. Exercise has been clinically proven to reduce depression through the creation of an overall sense of wellness.
Omega-3. Add some omega-3 fatty acid to your diet daily. They modify brain chemistry and combat depression. Sources of omega-3 include fatty fish, hemp seeds and oil, chia seeds, walnuts, grass-fed meats and butter, and pastured eggs). Even the government says so: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15907142.
Get out of the house. Keep off the social media websites and actually get out of the house more often. Mingle. Visit places. Travel. Meet new people. You'll feel better because you won't feel so lonely and isolated.