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LAKEPORT, CA - JULY 31: West Covina firefighters pulls hose away from a horse barn that burns as the River Fire moves through the area on July 31, 2018 in Lakeport, California. The River Fire has burned over 27,000 acres, destroyed seven homes and stands at only eight percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

More bad news for firefighters and their supporters.

As if increased cancer risk, throttled internet service and lack of benefits for prisoners on the front lines of this summer’s California wildfires weren’t devastating enough, a recent study has found that more firefighters are committing suicide than dying in the line of duty.

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CC0 Public Domain.

Suicide rates are on the rise. It’s been a tragic summer for high profile suicides, with Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade recently taking their own lives. As suicide rates continue to grow, it’s becoming painfully clear that America is in the midst of a mental health crisis.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 24: A man uses heroin under a bridge where he lives with other addicts in the Kensington section of Philadelphia which has become a hub for heroin use on January 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over 900 people died in 2016 in Philadelphia from opioid overdoses, a 30 percent increase from 2015. As the epidemic shows no signs of weakening, the number of fatalities this year is expected to surpass last year's numbers. Heroin use has doubled across the country since 2010, according to the DEA, part of an epidemic. Officials from Philadelphia recently announced that they want to become the first U.S. city to allow supervised drug injection sites as a way to combat the opioid epidemic. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Contrary to popular belief, Americans are not living longer. In large part due to alcohol and drug abuse, as well as suicide, life expectancy has dropped in the US for the second year in a row. This trend is particularly alarming, because life expectancy rates have been rising in many other developed countries over the last several decades. Clearly, something is amiss in American society.

As will surprise no one America is in the midst of a booming opioid epidemic. According to a report by CBS, overdose is now the leading cause of death for American adults under 50 years old. This sobering statistic demonstrates the brutality of addiction, particularly within the United States.

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New research involving ketamine is showing a great deal of promise in individuals who have suicidal thoughts or who have attempted suicide. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Americans aged 15-34 and the 10th leading cause of death across all age groups; on average, 123 people take their own lives every single day. Nearly half a million people attempted to kill themselves in 2017. More than half of all suicides are by self-inflicted gunshot, and men account for 7 out of 10 suicides. According to the Centers for Disease Control, American suicides reached an epidemically 30-year high in 2016. The economic toll from suicides is approaching $51 billion per year.

While not all suicides are caused by depression, the decision to commit suicide is usually impulsive, thus effective preventive measures are difficult to implement. Antidepressants and sedatives, while somewhat effective in reducing symptoms of depression and alleviating suicidal thoughts, take weeks to have an effect. And despite suicide awareness and prevention programs being on the rise, individuals with severe depression and major suicidal tendencies desperately need faster and longer-lasting forms of therapy.

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Logan Paul (YouTube)

Logan Paul, an American YouTube personality, published a video on YouTube showing the body of someone who had just committed suicide in Japan. The video was filmed in Aokigahara, a forest in the northwestern area of Japan's Mount Fuji, which is the world's most popular suicide site. Paul's video was published on YouTube on December 31 and has already garnered 6.5 million views. Since its publication, the internet has attacked Paul for posting the video. However, in the beginning of the video, Paul stressed that he did not monetize the video. According to the Metro, Paul is worth about $6 million, and makes most of his money from product endorsements. He currently has 3.9 million Twitter followers and about 16 million subscribers on YouTube.

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[DIGEST: NPR, MedicalNewsToday, Scientific American]

Depression afflicts most people at some point in their lives, but for some, the condition is chronic and debilitating. Major depressive disorder affects 14.8 million people in the United States, making it the most common disability for people aged 15-44. Many pharmaceuticals are available to treat depression, but few have lasting positive results for those whose depression is life-threatening.  

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