What Can the Health Humanities Contribute to Our Societal Understanding of and Response to the Deaths of Despair Crisis?

Daniel R. George, Benjamin Studebaker, Peter Sterling, Megan S. Wright, Cindy L. Cain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Deaths of Despair (DoD), or mortality resulting from suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related liver disease, have been rising steadily in the United States over the last several decades. In 2020, a record 186,763 annual despair-related deaths were documented, contributing to the longest sustained decline in US life expectancy since 1915–1918. This forum feature considers how health humanities disciplines might fruitfully engage with this era-defining public health catastrophe and help society better understand and respond to the crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-367
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Medical Humanities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy

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