More than 152,000 Americans died from suicide and alcohol or drug overdoses in 2017. This represents the most deaths from the three causes ever recorded in a single year and more than double the number from 1999. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, have suffered the most.
A report from the Trust for America’s Health paints a harrowing picture of just how much millennials are struggling with so-called “deaths of despair.” Drug use has been particularly deadly for millennials. Since 1999, drug-related deaths among millennials have increased by more than 500%. In the past decade, suicides and alcohol-related deaths increased by two-thirds and one-third, respectively.
In part, these premature deaths reflect record-high societal rates of anxiety and depression. Millennials, in a country of growing income inequality, face a far less financially stable future than past generations of Americans. Their early work lives were disrupted by the Great Recession of 2008, and has been worsened by stagnant wages and the burden of student loans.
Databyte via Pain in the Nation: Building a National Resilience Strategy. Trust for America’s Health & Wellbeing Trust, 2019.