Some Scary Graphs That Show The Midlife Crisis is Real.

July 5, 2023

Some Scary Graphs That Show The Midlife Crisis is Real.

May 29, 2023

Last year, I wrote a post profiling a white paper called “The Midlife Crisis” that came from the National Bureau of Economic Research. This paper hasn't gotten nearly enough attention in the mainstream press partly because—wow—is it ever a dense and challenging read. Fortunately, a picture tells a thousand stories, and the graphics below tell 500,000 stories of mid-lifers' challenges.

The first set of graphs shows the consistency between 2000, 2007, and 2014 in how depression peaks around age 50. The second set shows how anxiety peaks around the same time, and the third set shows that the feeling of living a life not worth living mirrors this.



And the graph below shows when adult suicide peaks for both genders, women and men (teen suicide is even more rampant). Again, the peak age tends to be around 50. As many of you know, I lost five middle-aged friends to suicide during the Great Recession, and I've recently been trying to understand what was going on for them. If there were three common qualities amongst the majority of these men, it was a feeling that their best years were behind them (even in their mid-40s), a financial fear of not living up to their expectations or not being able to provide for their families adequately, and a growing sense of irrelevance or incompetence. Of course, chronic depression was also an issue for a few of them.

The midlife suicide rate is more than 50% higher today than it was in the year 2000. Yet, it's unclear to me what we're doing as a society to address this.



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