Suicide Epidemic?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Huntn, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Huntn, Mar 11, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018

    Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    This last weekend, my wife and I attended a funeral for the 30 year old son of family friends. We knew him when he was a child who went to our son's school, but have not seen much of him for the last 20 years. The family has 3 kids, two very successful, one who has struggled with career, who did a short stint in the military, then got out and my impression is that he kind of drifted, not sure what to make of his life. There were no overt clues before the incident. The parents are devastated and my impression is blaming themselves. I know of many cases of depression in family members and most of them do not, or at least not yet, have not killed themselves. The event I cite above was a surprise for everyone involved, however there was an argument with a girl friend and alcohol was related, resulting in death by hanging.

    • So I wonder how many of the forum participants here know someone who committed suicide?
    • Has it really become fashionable, in other words, is it regarded as a good way or the easy way out to handle the frustrations of living?
    • How much of this is tied to the ability to live a comfortable life, vs a life fraught with challenges and setbacks?
    • Is this an issue in Europe and Asia? My impression is that with high expectations and pressure to succeeed, it was an issue in Japan in the 80's and 90's if not continuing today.
    • What is your impression of the necessary mental makeup and triggers that can cause someone with struggles, but not insurmountable issues, to throw in the towel and bail on life? For my self this is hard for me to imagine.

    US suicide rate soars to 30-year high in growing epidemic across America (reported in 2016)

    US suicides have reached their highest peak in 30 years, with middle-aged Americans making up the largest part of the growing epidemic, according to new federal data.

    A report published on Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics found that between 1999 and 2014, the largest increases in suicide were seen among middle-aged men and women 45 to 64 years old, and girls 10 to 14 years old. Older Americans, aged 75 and over, were the only group to see a decline in suicides during the same period.

    The suicide rate among women increased more quickly than among men. But men continued to account for the vast majority of deaths in 2014, the latest year for which data is available. The suicide rate among men was 20.7 per 100,000, compared to 5.8 per 100,000 among women.

    This new suicide data underpins recent studies that showed a decline in life expectancy among middle-aged, white Americans – especially women. Such studies attributed the increasing death rate to drug and alcohol misuse, as well as suicide. However, the NCHS data did not analyze racial and ethnic differences in suicide.
  2. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    I think the US government should start paying attention to these numbers. It's not just about mental health care, but about how we treat people in our society. On my part I knew three people who committed suicide, but that was in the 1980's. As a university educator in the UK I currently see a huge proportion of our students reporting stress, anxiety, depression and distress of one form or another. Colleagues in the US report the same. I think the way we parent the kids has an awful lot to do with it: too much criticism, too much empty praise, and not enough training in resilience and independence. I am as guilty of that as most parents these days.
  3. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Wait until we have an over abundance of college grads who can't find meaningful employment... I realize Indians (from India) have found employment here and in Europe for decades when their home country could not provide the employment, but somehow, I have a hard time imagining entitled US kids seeking employment overseas.
  4. Falhófnir macrumors 68040


    Aug 19, 2017
    It could well be linked to prospects, up to the 1990s there was a pretty decent chance you’d do ok in life even with a basic job - get a house, married and support children, it literally was a case of you get what you work for... now (certainly in the UK) that’s really not the case - indeed you can be doing pretty well and still not afford to buy. This of course puts an enormous amount of pressure on people right from, at the very least secondary education. I know I’m stuck in my parents ~£2m farmhouse until I have saved enough to buy. I only mention the approximate value to highlight how crazy it is! I’d say this is a genuine first world problem...
  5. Volusia macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2016
    Central Florida
    Is it possible that we have done such a poor job of preparing upcoming generations to deal with stress of everyday life? We are providing "safe areas" so those who might be offended can run and hide, rather than show how to learn from the mistakes of the past we remove anything that may remind people of those things we didn't handle well in the past...
  6. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    A friend described it as a generation of entitled kids not facing reality, which might not be fair. Could a shift in a cultural norm of expectations, and how to deal with not achieving "the idea life" whatever that is, have occurred?
  7. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Life is unforgiving, and that's designed by us for the most part. Also, everything is so unnatural and tainted, damn near everyone is probably chemically imbalanced.

    I personally think the value we put on life itself is so low, that suicide isn't such polar option that we try to make it out to be. People in general barely take pride in themselves, let alone have pride for others. So it's easy for me to understand how many resort to suicide.

    One of my childhood friends tried to commit suicide at 24 years old by jumping off a 6 story rooftop. He was in the hospital for over a year. He told me he never even thought about suicide before, and that day something just made him snap.
  8. skottichan macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    I'll be honest, I've fought suicidal ideations for most of my life. I've also lost two very important people in my life to suicide (my adopted father, self-inflicted gunshot, that I witnessed at 7 and my girlfriend, slit her wrists, after she was raped at a party).

    I can tell you what leads to my suicidal thoughts. Having my identity treated the way it is in the US. I am a chimerical intersex, being intersex (and born in the 70's) I was automatically assigned male at birth. I identify as female, so this makes me transgender as well. Nearly every day, I have to deal with, and listen to people talk about trans people like we're some sort of stain on American society. Having to worry about being assaulted or murdered if someone finds out I'm a woman with a penis.

    So, I will sit and ponder, "It would be so much easier if I were dead".

    And that's on top of my daily stressors of "OMG, if something happened to my drawing hand, or my vision, I would lose everything".

    (oh and to be clear; I'm 40, so I'm not one those "entitled Millenials" you all seem to think are the norm and not the exception)
  9. Septembersrain Contributor


    Dec 14, 2013
    Oh man. This topic hits home for me so hard. I've had two close friends commit suicide when I was a teen. Now I've had multiple group members (Group on Facebook) with fibromyalgia and other underlying issues commit suicide over their loss of pain medication.

    I'm a suicide survivor. Two serious tries.

    Why? The reason changed from the first to the second time.

    The first time was because I saw the ugliest side of life by being raped at 9 and then dodging attempts as I aged. Being made fun of at school for smelling dirty and like cigarettes/marijuana. My mother a prostitute, my dad out of the picture but his mother using me as a pawn in a game of chess against my mom. My life was about survival seeing as I had no running water at times and no heat/ac unless I begged my mom to go into her room (She was comfortable, but forget me!). Dying seemed easier.

    The second time I was thrown pills. A shrink basically telling me he had to refer me out because my situation was "Out of his area of expertise". That left me feeling like a basket case. So I took the meds and blacked out. Turns out I have DID with amnesia. All this because I got a heart condition and was facing anxiety/depression over a loss of my independence. I sought help and ended up in a worse place! The medication and lack of understanding therapy just opened the door for me to sink.

    Honestly? Right now the world looks ugly to me. So many people are busy fighting that they can't see they are cutting their nose to spite their face. I imagine many youth feel this pressure and stress more acutely than I do. The way social media and the news work, I feel that all the negativity is driving many into feeling like they are in a corner. Chaos of the mind.

    In Japan, suicide can be considered an honourable way out of a disgraceful situation. Here and possibly in the UK, it's more like dying is a permanent solution to a problem they can't see past. In both situations, they feel this is the only way out. I can understand this.

    TL;DR The world feels more harsh to many of us who are the most vulnerable and it's getting worse every day.
  10. Septembersrain Contributor


    Dec 14, 2013
    I think people are becoming desensitized. They are losing empathy. More people are retreating into themselves. Feeling isolated.

    The pressure to appear normal, to me, feels overwhelming. I too think at times "If I died, I wouldn't struggle anymore".

    I can't get pain meds for my fibromyalgia, my heart meds break my bank, and I feel completely alone.

    I imagine you have times when you feel like you are isolated as well right?

    I perceive that people around me prefer if I act happy, even if I'm not. I've had people use my sadness as ammunition. Locking away my past worked for a time. Now it's all coming apart. I hope that you aren't in this boat with me. Once you try to die, the grateful feeling of being alive is eventually replaced with guilt that you failed.

    Especially if you can't find proper help.

    I can't imagine how you feel but from one stranger to another, I hope that those thoughts stay as just that... thoughts.
  11. Foggydog macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2014
    Left Coast
    Thank you @Huntn for bring to light a very difficult subject in life. I had no idea that suicide had grown so much in the 30 somthing age range. But what I have really noticed is the 10-14 year age range shooting up for girls. I’m guessing that goes back to how the younger age kiddos spend so much time on FB, Intsagram, and other social media sights. Combined with many parents not parenting their kids. I have looked at pictures of some of these girls....and they all seem so beautiful at their age, but they have been rejected by their peers and told they are ugly, stupid, worthless and these kids believe their peers and then believe that there isn’t anything worth living for anymore.

    My step daughter made a secret Instagram account on the schools website. She then proceeded to follow her friends into making fun of a grandma of one of the students. When we found out we did three things, completely remove that instagram account, take away her iPad for a month, and the third I had a heart to heart talk with her.
    I asked her how it would feel if her friends turned on her and started making fun of her and putting her down, then to completely reject her. I told my daughter that online bullying starts this way. I think I made some progress with her because she is getting straight A’s and excelling in her classes......At least I hope I had some influence on her behavior.
  12. A.Goldberg, Mar 11, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015
    @Huntn, please accept my deepest condolences. I’m sorry you and your loved ones had to experience this tragedy.

    Well, working in mental health I am exposed to a lot of suicide, unfortunately. I have also been personally connected with people who have or have attempted suicide. There has been an uptick in suicide lately, but in the big picture the rate of suicide is much lower than it once was. That said, any suicide, especially with a young person, is a travesty.

    Just last year one of my good friends fiancée broke up with him and he tried to kill himself. Thankfully his ex-fiancée called the police who quickly intervened and more than likely saved his life.

    I don’t think suicide is “fashionable”, though it often influences other people to commit suicide. My sucicidal patients, after the fact, generally see their attempts as embarrassing and shallow... the attempts demonstrate how little you think of yourself.

    The majority of suicides come out of acute crises that the individual cannot find a way to reconcile. I think most suicide survivors will tell you that despite being otherwise relatively sane and smart people, their decision to attempt suicide was born in a moment of insanity. The logical ways of handing a situation temporarily don’t exist.

    I think in general our society, particuarly the younger part, has become increasingly incompetent with coping with life difficulties and struggles. At the same time, in some ways I think there is a lot more demand and expectation for younger generations today.
  13. Zenithal macrumors G3

    Sep 10, 2009
    I see it reversed. People in their 40s and above had it much easier than today's kids do. People in their 40s and above were able to attend great colleges for a fraction of today's tuition rate. Solid paying job right after college. Being able to buy a home in their 20s and being able to pay off said loan within a decade if they worked hard enough, we had more time to go for a masters or a doctorate and not worry about the job outlook because we'd already acquired experience and made connections, not to mention back then you'd get a stipend for doing your masters when you're lucky enough to get one now for your doctorate.

    Sorry to hear about your friend's son. Calling today's new adults entitled is somewhat fair but also a stretch. Most people graduating college now will be lucky if they can pay off their tuition and other loans by the time they retire. I'm guilty of judging others myself and do catch myself from time to time. I hate using the word, but I consider my generation and yours and older people blessed for having an easier life.
  14. mollyc macrumors 68000

    Aug 18, 2016
    When I was in early high school (late 80s), a teacher (male) committed suicide. As a freshman in college, I learned about a boy who graduated the year before me had committed suicide. And later that year my own roommate attempted, but I figured out what hapyabd helped get her to the ER. In her case, she was a young Chinese student trying to live up to the expectations of her parents.

    I do not know the factors of the two males.
  15. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    Never understood the mentality personally, I could see using assisted suicide if I were terminally ill and would be in physical pain.
  16. statik13 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2008
    Short answer, "yes". Culture has definitely shifted in the past 10-15 years and we don't know the full outcome yet. I really think that we are starting to see the ugly side of social media more and more. Everybody knows of cyberbullying and how that can drive people to suicide, but there is much more common sinister side called social media fear of missing out, which can hurt our mental health.

    Our feeds are full of friends & family partying, traveling, having adventures, showing off their newest toys and generally showing how amazing their life is. Never mind that people only post the good bits. Never mind that it is multiple feeds all wrapped up into one.

    I think on some level we lose the individual and the feed itself becomes our ideal person having this amazing life.... and who could compete with that?
  17. Lioness~ macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2017
    Suicides is a difficult subject, and there's no generalizations that can be applied to why some people chose that outcome.
    But of course there are many patterns to watch in todays society. Both good and bad.

    I've had the subject of suicide very close to me. Several relatives and 'friends' have chosen that outcome.
    From what I've seen it's often partly mentally brilliant people who ponder and success with those steps.
    But not necessarily mentally enough strong to hold their own pain and dark side, or maybe not that emotionally mature, either.

    We all do mistakes, we all go trough crises, that actually are life's way of making us grow and transform.
    So why do some chose to not really go trough theirs, and don't want to know who they will become if they take life's offer for change & growth?
    The ego-mind have a lot of negative and false assumptions about a lot of tings. And I think that is what they actually want to kill, not themselves. But their real self isn't evolved enough to know that.

    I myself had a profound and more than a so called NDE at 20.
    I don't discuss my personally deep experiences online though. More then mentioning it, in case people want to google and know more about it.
    So I know it's pretty useless to copout from ones challenges. We have created them ourselves to grow from immature, unaware fearful beings, into wise soulful and loving creatures with access to the best versions of ourselves, in my opinion. Suicides don't change ones karma. Issues and what one have to grow in, will come back and back and back until we learn. My experience :)

    Social-media can definitely be only a game field for some kind of people. And that's unfortunate for those people who becomes the looser in that game.
    But we can also chose to be who we actually are, proudly, with integrity no matter where we go.
    And not participate in any of those games. Our own choice of life again :)

    I myself rejoice in the growing communities of spirituality, meditation and awareness that expands in the world today.
    It's always a light and a dark side in how our world evolves. Without the contrasts we wouldn't see it.
    One day we may not need a contrast such as that though.
  18. Fancuku macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2015
    PA, USA
    I have personally known only one person who has committed suicide. I worked with him at a restaurant in my early twenties. He committed suicide about 5 years after I had left that job. I hadn't seen him or heard from after I left that job but when I found out I was really sad for a few days.
    He was a very good kid, and was doing well in life so I didn't understand what made him do it. His parents said that he was on some anti-depressants for a few years and they think they made him suicidal until one day he went on with it.
  19. Zenithal macrumors G3

    Sep 10, 2009
    The problem is that those drugs need to be adjusted from time to time. Of course, there are some people who feel they're fine and go off their medication. Which only leads to a hard rebound which may drive them to a terrible and unrecoverable decision. You're bound to hear more bad stories associated with anti-depressants than positive outcomes.
  20. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Excellent and thought-provoking thread; thank you for starting it, @Huntn.
  21. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    I feel ill-equipped to respond, but will try anyways...First off, I've known quite a few people with attempts at such - but no successful ones - and I have to think there is a different mentality at play in that difference, but one I can't pretend to understand. We in the US live in a both comfortable and cutthroat society...yet I find almost all Americans to be sympathetic to those they know...I don't know if suicides are exacerbated by our culture, but I'd make a guess that a suicidal person here, if they were to reach out - would find a sympathetic ear. I would like to think that over-medication was a causal factor in rates-of-suicide, but data from ye olden times just isn't really there to make a comparison. So who knows. I'd like to think that Countries that provide a vast Social safety-net allay many basic existential crises that may be a trigger for some - but it's ultimately a deeply idiosyncratic personal decision. Sorry Huntn.
  22. BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2008
    My sister in law killed herself after two previous attempts. I have seen numerous others. I think parenting is a big part, obviously you're likely to raise your kids they way you were raised (Obviously not abusing them but some will). The fear we all had of someday sounding like your parents is both funny and real. My kids expect everything, I don't give it to them despite the urge to provide better for them than I was given. They work for everything and will only get rewarded provided I see effort first and foremost and eventually results. I don't help either one if I just hand them everything, it's insane not to think they're going to take that and believe it's going to happen during their teen/young adult years. I think there is a sense of entitlement that isn't helping. There's also some kind of isolation occurring with kids that prevents them from dealing with adversity. Obviously that's not every case, some people were handed a really ****** hand at life. But we have Universities setting up safe spaces and counselling services to help students through the tragic event of hearing an opposing view point. Sometimes I think the adults have coddled kids to the point that makes something so mundane become so stressful to them. I could remember as a teen my mother telling me to grow some balls and that sometimes life isn't fair, get used to it. "Death and taxes are a certainty everything else you have to work and fight for". I don't know if it's the right approach, it worked for me, but I find myself trying to instill that mentality in my kids.
  23. Huntn, Mar 12, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018

    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Thank you for sharing.
    My impression is that when someone contemplates suicide, they are in a state of mind where the pain, physical or mental is such that they do become centered on themselves to relieve the pain, while in some cases they may feel they would be doing everyone a favor. It’s difficult for me to judge this decision.

    As someone who has only had a few negatives in my life, I’d categorize myself as being in a poor position to hand out advice about dealing with negatives, frustrations, or challenges based on experience. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to have to deal with constant negative bombardment directed at myself, based on who I am.

    So with the premise of not being qualified to hand out advice based on negative experiences, I can only propose, that our lives represent a unique opportunity to interact within this existence and with other souls on the same journey, however we choose to.

    And I choose to believe that this life is far from a one time experience to appraise and contemplate our existence, because it’s the only option that makes sense. If it’s a one time experience, what is the frick’n point, and at the end of it, if we are faced with perpetual oblivion, who cares what is learned? In the spectrum of a bazillion years, what difference does it make if we live one or 100 years? It’s over in a flash anyway. Imo, it has to mean something, but what?

    My idealized hope is that our lives represent a compartmentalized, persistent learning opportunity or maybe it’s just a vacation in the Earth Simulator. ;) Unfortunately we don’t know, but I think we owe it to ourselves to take maximum advantage of this opportunity, to understand the negatives are learning opportunities to achieve if nothing else, perspective.

    Take it on your terms, understand that not everyone will love or like you (not a directed critique), but a niche exists where happiness can be found, where we can make a positive difference, possibly help others, and in the process help ourselves and find happiness for the brief time this round lasts. Most important if it’s possible, is not letting the negatives overwelm the experience, with an understanding this mortal life will all be over soon enough.

    I wanted to clarify that I don’t think all kids from middle class backgrounds feel entitled, but I certainly saw more of this in my son’s generation with his peers (he is now 35). What I got from my son in high school was not so much entitlement, but what I felt were expressions of low expectations as in I can’t live up to this. We never put high pressure on him, but we did push that he go to college for at least a year as in, give it a chance. Of note, his first year was at a vocational college, his choice, but he opted to join the USAF so he could become an aircrew man. He is now a flight engineer.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 12, 2018 ---
    I agree, referencing social media, along with the positives of staying in touch, there is incessant bragging, in essence, look at me and what I’m doing. I have mostly withdrawn from social media.
  24. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Regarding coddling, the Aussie I had a chat with on my recent plane ride (referenced in another thread) complained that no one’s kids could be disciplined any more, by the school or the parents without threat of being sued or worse. I only mention him as someone who has an outside perspective on an issue as compared to my own. I believe he was referencing corporal punishment as a mechanism that served to toughen kids.

    And if we are putting schools in the authority position, imo, they must be able to discipline their wards. The debate is what is appropriate discipline? How should corporal punishment play into this? There are obvious cases where physical intervention in conflicts is warranted and necessary.

    I am not a proponent of physical punishment, especially beating, but he believed it served a purpose in toughening up kids, but how far, and at what price? I remember being late in third grade and having my hand repeatedly struck with a ruler by my teacher. Our Principle in high school had a paddle that he used on errant kids when the situation warranted it. I admit when our son was small, I sometimes pinched him to get his attention.

    The problem as I see it is that we don’t want to instill violence in our children as the way to solve discipline issues, but I have seen that verbal punishment or restrictions such as stay in your room, as not being as effective and is actually more work for the parent if you have to sit on them in a loving manner, ;) to get them to listen to you vs a swat.

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