Not Just Robin: Suicide For Middle Age White Guys Up 50%
|August 13, 2014||Posted by Staff under Health|
This 2014 excerpt of NBCNews, Aug 12, is by Tony Kokopil.
Robin Williams’ death could push suicide awareness into the mainstream like AIDS after the death of Rock Hudson, or heroin after the overdose of Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Recently, self-harm has been taking more lives annually around the world than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. In more advanced countries, only three causes of death steal more years of life expectancy. In the U.S., suicide deaths now outnumber deaths by automobile accident.
The suicide rate—the number of people per 100,000 who kill themselves each year—dropped in developed countries between 1990 and 2010. In the United States, meanwhile, the rate has jumped almost 20 percent in the last decade. But take a longer view back to World War II and the American suicide rate has not changed much at all.
Heart disease, cancer, HIV, most infectious diseases, almost every kind of accident: they’re all in relatively steep decline, while suicide floats along, or even rises. It’s among the only major threats to get significantly worse in this century than in the last. And the reason is darkly profound: as more people survive into middle and old age, more people are left to die by their own hand.
The suicide rate among Americans 45 to 64 has jumped more than 30 percent in the last decade. Among white, upper-middle-aged men, the rate has jumped by more than 50 percent. Boomers have the highest suicide rate right now, but everyone born after 1945 had a higher suicide rate than expected —- and everyone is on pace for a higher rate than the Boomers.
Williams was depressed, and he has admitted to substance abuse problems, two notorious risk factors for suicide.
Despite his royalties from his hit movies, he also worried about money — after two divorces costing tens of millions of dollars — and so took a role in a TV show. The show got cancelled, and he had to downsize his lifestyle, two blows to his self-esteem. And without his family full-time, he may have lost the daily intimacy many human beings need.
Ed. Notes: Most guys want to have and take care of family. When they can’t, it hurts. When people hurt, some people hurt themselves more.
To correct the situation, there are things that the individual sufferer can do, things the people who care about someone can do, things professionals can do — and things we all can do together. I mean, let’s create an economy that does not foster insecurity and worthlessness any longer. That is, we can recover society’s surplus and share it equitably while leaving our earnings alone, untaxed. More precisely, we’d shift taxes off income, sales, and buildings, and onto pollution, extraction, and locations. We’d shift spending from corporate welfare and other favors for insiders, into a dividend paid to citizens.
Geonomic policy creates security, closes the gap in self-esteem, and lets people heal, families heal, and communities heal, creating a context in which self-harm would no longer be an issue.