back to article Baby Boomers committing suicide at unprecedented rates

The Baby Boomers - the generation born after the Second World War, who were hippies and flower children in the 1960s and 70s, corporate greedheads in the 1980s, who controlled western civilisation through the 90s and noughties and are now reaching retirement age - are committing suicide in unprecedented numbers. The suicide …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course, substance abuse is the first target

    Have these people not considered that since 2000 the western world has overly oppressive and controlling. Perhaps people realising the futility of living in this age could be a factor also?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Benefit of hindsight

      "Have these people not considered that since 2000 the western world has overly oppressive and controlling."

      Yep, and the present generation is likely to do even less about it than the previous one, I don't see many mass anti war demonstrations or a "ban the bomb" movement anymore, how about the whole anti establishment hippie thing in the sixties?

      When you are young lots of people become "anti establishment", 30 years later they usually are the establishment, look at politicians like Peter Hain and Ken Livingstone to name but 2 (yeah I know they are both Labour but it's easier!) Even Fidel Castro has been reported as saying recently that maybe communism in Cuba had been a mistake.

  2. Paul Berry

    The generation that pulled the ladder up behind them

    Hard to feel sorry for them, even if they do include my parents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Boo Hoo

      Pissed off because you have to make your own way in life?

      Suck it up.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        No, not pissed off because of that

        "Pissed off because you have to make your own way in life?

        Suck it up."

        No. I'm pissed off that I have to make my own way, and pay for their extravagances as well. A country massively in debt, that will be paid by me and my cohort, while the people that screwed it all up live on state pensions that they didn't pay enough towards, while I pay for them and not get a pension myself.

        When my generation gets into power, we'll see how they treat the Boomers, who themselves approached life with a scorched-earth policy.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          If you have credit card debt, or have an overdraft, or bought a house with a 95% mortgage in the last 10 years, or spent taxpayers money, then *you* are the *problem*, not the solution. Do your parents tick the boxes? I suspect not. Grow up. Nobody gives a s**t.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Quite apart from the fact that (AFAIK) no one gets issued with a ticket that says "here is your entitlement to an easy life" at birth, I think you are blaming the wrong people.

          I don't think its the boomer generation that lived on excessive credit over the last 10-15 years. I think you'll find its the younger section of the population that wanted all the latest toys NOW and funded that lifestyle with credit.

          If you are one of those that didn't squander their money on valueless crap you have my sympathy.

          Life isn't fair, it's just life and shit happens.

      2. steward

        Dunno about Brits, but...

        on this side of the big pond, our social philosophy has assumed that the next generation will be better off than the previous one. You know, like ensuring domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare, securing the blessings of liberty, that sort of thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "ensuring domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare, securing the blessings of liberty"

          Thats a good one coming from the land of aggressive capitalism (not that I've anything against that per se), junk mortgages, healthcare only if you can pay for it, agressive foreign wars, rendition etc.

    2. Gannon (J.) Dick
      Thumb Up

      Out of the mouths of babes, Paul

      You are exactly right, kid. Although I'm having distinctly old-fashioned feelings of pique that I'm old enough to be your parent, if I were I would be proud of you.

  3. blackworx


    "Jammiest generation that ever lived finds life too cruel"

    Couldn't have put it better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apart from the one following it.

      Consider police brutality, homophobia and racism. In the UK anyway, not sure about elsewhere.

  4. Joe K


    ....the increasing rejection of religion, and the fear of going to hell if you check yourself out of this madhouse, could also be a factor.

    1. Daniel Evans


      Suicide == Go straight to hell, do not pass heaven, do not collect halo

      In christian terms, anyway, right?

      1. Keith T

        A large function of religion was to keep slaves from killing themselves

        Religions functioned in part to keep hopelessly oppressed cannon fodder and cheap labour from killing themselves.

        They also functioned to keep wage demands down by promising that wages forgone in this life would be paid in the next.

        Take away that and yes, people will be more pragmatic about suicide.

        1. Nightkiller

          As opposed to what?

          The new religions

          Communism? Fascism? Totalitarianism? Consumerism? PostModermism? Go ahead. Pick a power trip from the list. I dare you.

      2. copsewood

        In Christian terms suicide == the ultimate self centredness

        @Daniel Evans

        If your conceptual world just centres around you and if the rest of your consequently tiny world no longer seems to worship you, then why should someone who thinks and lives this way see any point in continuing ? Christians view suicide quite simply as a rejection of the gift of life - if life is a gift then it must still have good purposes and possibilities whatever bad stuff may happen along the way. Atheists see no gift of life because they can see no giver.

        And as to going straight to hell, what makes you imagine that as you go beyond death you should then become more capable of choosing to have a relationship with a God whom you chose to dislike and reject so completely during your life ? Isn't it probable that as we become more set in our ways we perhaps find it more difficult to think, choose and behave differently ? Did I hear that this was supposedly God's fault for giving you genuinely free will, with all of the consequences of free will, rather than making you a happy robot that follows His program ? Well if that's your excuse, then your understanding of God as someone who 'should have made you into a happy robot' is a lot less creative than how I understand God. Come to think of it I don't think much of a god limited to creating automatons either.

        Is it perhaps conceivable that previous generations which fought through world wars for our freedom were less centred upon themselves, and that their Christian faith had something to do with this ?

        1. Veldan

          just a few things...

          @ copsewood,

          Your argument carries some real flaws. "Christians view suicide quite simply as a rejection of the gift of life" Forgive me for thinking that a group of people who see life as a short span before continuing on to an eternal (usually better) life probably DON'T appreciate it as much as people who believe they have one short and unexplained life to lead.

          It's like the Christians who say "no one will cry when an atheist dies, because they never really lived, etc". When an atheist dies it is more of a loss, they don't see that person continuing on to an eternal heaven, it's when a Christian dies no one should care as they've went to a better place (so they believe).

          I also find the fact you call life a gift a bit of a laugh. From what I've been told of heaven it's a really good place, better than here. Excuse me if i don't find being put outside in the hotbox for 80-100 years a gift when there is a lovely mansion next door with all the ice tea you can drink and joy you could ever handle. I'd think it's more of a punishment, or payment for what's ahead...

          Just saying, you know?

      3. LaeMing

        I was lead to believe

        that suicide destroyed the soul, not sent it automatically to hell. Nice little get-out for people who are sure they are damned.

        Of course it would depend on which re-edit of the texts one was blindly following.

      4. steward

        In the old days, yes, but...

        the RCC, at least, now presumes that anyone who kills him or herself is mentally disordered, and thus cannot go to hell on the basis of the suicide because he or she lacked the ability to make a moral judgment.

  5. Ralph B

    Boom Boom

    > Boomers are bizarre, as Westerners in the 40-59 age bracket (as the Boomers now are)

    > hadn't previously tended to kill themselves a lot.

    Once is usually enough.

  6. Norm DePlume

    Bad news financially?

    Hell no, we'll be saving on pensions and health care.

    1. LaeMing

      Which is why smoking should be encouraged.

      Smokers don't really cost the health system more. They just get all their chronic illnesses and death over before they have had a chance to claim much of a pension.

    2. Expat Paul

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Finally, the boomers are doing something to help reduce the deficit

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    59 is "middle aged" now?!

    So, people are expected to live to over 100 years old nowadays are they?

    Also, as someone who is expecting 70 to be a ripe old age (due to genetics and lifestyle) I feel middle age was hit at around 30.

    1. Rande Knight

      Middle aged at 59.

      "So, people are expected to live to over 100 years old nowadays are they?"

      Yes, according to the annuity calculator I had access to a few years ago, they do in fact believe that a lot of people alive today will live to 120.

    2. Keith T

      Young= 0 to 29, middle aged 30 to 59, elderly 60 and up

      Of course vain people think that middle aged goes on for ever.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Hang on, you just made that up didn't you?

        I'm 32 and no fecking way am I middle aged. I'm nowhere near "I've peaked and I'm kidding myself" land, nor do I have the urge or the money to start compensating for my dwindling virility because - dammit - it's NOT dwindling!


        Ooh 25 to ten - nearly time for bed!

      2. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Elderly, fine. Boomer, NO!

        The trouble with you young whippersnapper journos is that you seem to have learnt this term from

        Trivial Pursuits instead of listening to your elders: The Bulge Babies.

        Yes, I was at the rising front, the conkering edge of the Bulge. My school roll doubled before I got to the sixth form. Rebuild the Skylon, instead of PARIS, and all will be forgiven.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    War ended 1945, baby boomers were the post-war generation, say 10 years, that makes them 55-65 years old, if my calculations are correct

    You sure you've got the right generation there?

    1. Reeshar

      Re: But...

      Yup, you're absolutely correct about the baby boomer age group not being quite right. The report actually says "...The timing of the post-1999 increase coincides with the complete replacement of the U.S. population's middle-age strata by the postwar baby boom cohorts, whose youngest members turned 40 years of age by 2005. These cohorts, born between 1945 and 1964..."

      So that would make the range 46 to 65 according to the report although I agree with you, moiety, that it is normally more tightly defined as 55 to 65.

      A further point to note is that this survey relates to the US not to the UK. Over the pond I suspect baby boomers have gone from boom (ahem) to bust and hence have greater cause to be depressed and top themselves.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    Maybe not so much because of "a tantrum at the rude awakening of middle age, or simply like mindless sheep".

    Rather since having a good life on their own terms they want to exit at their own convenience, and not be reliant on anyone else as they rot away in some institution from geriatric diseases like Cancer or Alzhiemers.

    1. Keith T

      Good point

      Medical science is finding lots of new ways to give us a long slow painful death.

      True longevity is great, but a 10 to 15 year long slow painful death may be something people want to avoid.

      1. Michael 77
        Paris Hilton

        fixed that for ya

        Medical science is finding lots of new ways to give us a long slow painful life.

        Paris - she knows stuff about medical science ....

  10. Anonymous Coward


    "Another is that the pampered Boomers simply can't put up with the general misery and discomfort which come with getting old."

    My monies on this one. As a baby boomer myself we have had (as is pointed out with mind numbing regularity) pretty much the best of everything (though I sadly seemed to have missed out on most of it), and it's harder for people to adjust if in material terms you've have something to lose in the first place (wonder how many people in these statistics were caught out with "buy to let"!).

    Also I remember when I was younger older people frequently saying they wish they could die due to suffering various medical problems, however these days the information is available online and indeed whole Swiss clinics exist which mean you don't have to suffer on if medically you have to lead a very painful, miserable, existence.

    As far as the medical profession and society goes the whole impetus is to preserve life at whatever the cost, however we all die eventually, and for some people their lives have got to the point where they just don't want top be here anymore.

    1. AlgernonFlowers4

      Preserve life?

      Having read about 'old' people dying because they couldn't get a glass of water and having seen at first hand the caring professions attitude to 'older' people I am not surprised that baby boomers are opting for suicide instead.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Close but no cigar

      Indeed, you have had the best and screwed the rest. Jolly well spotted.

      There is a minor, but not entirely insignificant detail you missed though - you did so on credit (in every possible sense of this word, not just the financial one) and you thought that you will never ever have to pay for it. It was us, the next generation, which was supposed to foot the bills for your excesses. Pay for your pensions, health care, everything.

      Tough luck, you will be paying for it _YOURSELF_ now. No pension age any more, and 20+ years of austerity all the way until you work yourself into the grave while still facing a big red credit bill at the end of each month.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        In best Monty Python Life of Brian voice

        Who me?, ooh thank you very much!

        And speaking personally, many of the bad things blamed on the baby boom generation are more to do with politics at various times than any one persons decision, the whole welfare state largely came about because of the war and a desire to move away from the crap social conditions that prevailed before it, would you like to go back to those times?

        Credit?, so only the boomers went mad with credit in the last ten years?, only boomers went mad with buying property portfolios?, and the Government loosening financial regulation and the availability of cheap Japanese credit (Carry trade) had nothing whatsoever to do with this?

        Give it 20-30 years and the next generation will have just as much cause to hate "you" and "your decisions".

        As for me I worked freelance most of my life, never had an overnight stay in hospital, and I am now living in a European country paying my own bloody pension, health insurance and're welcome!

  11. Red Bren

    Wrong age range?

    I'm not sure that 40 year olds would consider themselves baby boomers. I thought 1960 was the cut off.

  12. Michael 28

    Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics.

    Hmm... Assuming the overall population at this age is primarily female ...(I'm extrapolating from scottish figures ... bear with me)

    this does tend to beg the question, why is this happening now?

    Admittedly , substance abuse may be an issue...( or lack thereof... must be one hell of a hangover sobering up in your sixties)

    Self esteem and other psychological issues might be at fault? How do these people measure their success? In a recession, if their shallow enough to measure wealth in posessions, then hard cheese.

    then again, maybe these statistics need dragging out in more detail.

    ...think i'll leave it to the Daily Express crowd...and wait for a suitable headline.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Michael 28

      Even if you extrapolate from the Scottish figures I think you'll find that the population in question is NOT primarily female

      1. Michael 28

        Proving my point

        Post-35 the population ratio skews. , and in most cases is highest in the specific skew around 65, the age grouping i mentioned. Wasn't talking about the WHOLE population.

        Put another way, judging by the statistics for the group mentioned, if some nutter were to jump off a building and land on you , IF they're a "Baby Boomer", is the probability that they're male or female EXACTLY equal??? I personally don't think so.... these details could be important, tho ...some people comfort eat instead of resorting to substance abuse.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyway, never mind them

    How's my generation doing? I was born in the 60s, which according to Wikipedia makes me part of "Generation X".

    I feel we are already at something of an advantage here, as we have a much cooler name than "baby boomers". But are we all topping ourselves yet? Should I put my affairs in order, or put a few quid in the pension fund?

    Dying to know.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Just who are you describing here? My parents, born 1914 & 1919, had a pretty easy time of it after the war, with healthcare and childrens' education all fully paid for by the state, mortgage tax relief etc etc, followed by a defined benefit pension on which they could afford a long leisured retirement. I, born in 1952 - what I would assume to be prime baby boom period - have had to pay for medical insurance to get any hope of competent care, regret trusting my children's education to the state and am the grateful recipient of defined contribution pension schemes, which the insurance companies have ensured made no gains when times were good and are now worth less than the contributions. I do not expect to be taking any cruises in my retirement, whenever that is, unless care for the elderly is outsourced to some Liberian registered banana boat company.

  15. Joe Harrison

    Am I getting jammy yet?

    I don't get all this hating on us boomers. Don't get me started but I never had all the goodies you gen x & y lot take for granted (xboxes, going to uni, indoor toilets...) What am I supposed to have done to "pull teh ladder up behind me" then? Been paying out taxes and what have you since forever and now you grudge me every penny. Kids, bah.

    1. Paul RND*1000

      Happy slappy generation gappy

      Honestly, as a "Gen-X"-er (1973) neither do I. It all seems like a rather artificial division when you consider that every generation does the same things in the same order, barring any massive worldwide upheavals.

      My generation bitches about how the boomers screwed everything up for us while deriding gen-Y and millennials for being lazy, selfish, slacking feckers who'll never be ready for leadership.

      Sounds a lot like what I hear some boomers say about my generation and that of their parents, doesn't it?

      All a bit silly really, if you ask me.

      1. Bob Foster
        Thumb Up


        A brief trawl through the web produced the following:

        An extract from a sermon preached by Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274:

        "The world is passing through troublesome times. The young people of

        today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for

        parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as

        if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is

        foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest

        and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress."

        Attributed quote of Plato (428– 348 BC), complaining to Socrates, in ancient Greece:

        “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

        Hesiod (around 700 BC.):

        “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.”

        [Note: the word "wise" above as used by Hesiod actually means "smartass". Kind of like derogatorily saying today someone is a "wiseguy".

  16. paul clinch


    "40 - 59", "prolonged and luxurious retirements, hip replacements " How do these two statements go together.

    I'm 52 with no prospect of impending retirement and was certainly too late for 'flower power'.

  17. Pete 2 Silver badge

    wrong boomers?

    > Westerners in the 40-59 age bracket (as the Boomers now are)

    I've always understood the "baby boom" was post WW2 when all the military went home and ..... boom!. That makes the boomers born from 1945 to (say)1955. In that case they'd be 55-65, not 40-59 That fits in with being hippy age group in the 60's (aged 15-25)

    Also, while the boomers are generalised into ex-hippie, red-braces, greed-is-good types, most people of that era weren't hippies, didn't do drugs. they didn't own a red Porsche in the 80's nor did they wave their wad while drinking champagne.

    Although it makes a nice story - complete with a small peppering of schadenfreude for the spiteful to get off on, I don't buy the basic premise, let alone the faulty maths or the generalisations.


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