Boomer Women's Stress and Suicide Rates on the Rise

Findings released today from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index show that women ages 45 to 64 have the lowest well-being of any age group or gender. As members of the so-called "Sandwich Generation," mid-life women often ignore their own needs as they juggle commitments to their jobs, marriages, kids, and aging parents. Many say they skimp on sleep and grab junk-food meals on the run. Medical experts predict that those habits combined with sky-rocketing cortisol levels from stress could mean this will be the first generation of women who don't outlive their male counterparts by five to seven years.

Even more alarming, new studies show that suicide rates among middle-aged women have risen. Dr Julie Phillips, Ph.D. used data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau to examine the years between 1998 and 2007. She found that women between the ages of 40 and 60 are more at risk of killing themselves than women of other ages. According to her report, in 2007 60 per cent of the 7,328 suicides among women were from this age group. Also, recent research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that emergency department visits for suicide attempts with drugs has risen by 49 per cent for women over 50.    

Our advice? Don't become a statistic! One of our favorite experts, Marie Savard, M.D., author of "Ask Dr. Marie," has coined a "Golden Rule for Women." "Do unto yourself as you would do unto others," she says. "What I mean is that you need to take care of yourself with at least as much devotion as you take care of everybody else." We agree! Join the discussion in our forums. Serious Consequences of Stress: How Do You Cope? Are You or Have You Been Suicidal?
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