Its a difficult issue to "comment" on, to try and understand how much pain a person must be under, to get to this point. It may not be a coincidence that 2008 was mentioned. With the real possibility that 2019 may see another money crises . . . what can to be done?
In the 18 to 49 age range (prime of life), suicide is the single largest cause of death amongst men in Australia and Britain and USA.
Since it’s mostly men killing themselves though, there’s very little that can be done politically.
There are various initiatives like beyond blue. I’m not sure if their focus is on men, but I’m pretty sure their “net” spreads that far, and would be effective on men.
BeyondBlue do purport to provide assistance to men experiencing depression and anxiety.
Whatever they are doing is not working though. Look at the ABS charts @Cizin linked above.
The rates are increasing, not decreasing across the time frame that BeyondBlue has been engaged, despite continuous review and funding increases.
Rather notably, they never ascribe the levels of depression and anxiety to any causes.
Their focus seems to be on having someone to talk to when you’re already in a bad way, and for expediency, they’ve focused on web chat as the means to do that - a medium noted for it’s lack of emotional transference.
So, to characterise this, we have a situation where in a wealthy modern nation with all manner of opportunities as well as social security provisions are available, and during 2017 in that nation, 3128 people, predominantly in the prime of their lives, found life to be so depressing that they took their own lives, but nobody in a responsible position has thought it reasonable to ask about the root cases of this, and 75% of them are men.
Even the independent evaluations that happen every 4 years don’t dare touch on the reasons. They talk about awareness of depression/anxiety and reducing the stigma, and they note that increasing awareness doesn’t translate to matching increases in effective treatment, but they never touch on why any of this is happening.
Do you have a view on what the causes might be? Or the next appropriate step?
I don’t think I could provide a definitive list,
Outside of a range of special cases like people who just have ongoing physically derived mental health issues causing depression and anxiety, there’s are quite a few categories that tend to play out in the wider population as a function of life stages:
In the teenager age range, there’s always going to be a certain amount of teen angst, but broken families are a large contributor. Amongst the boys, this may mean that they’ve been blocked from any male role models at all, having lost access to their father, and only having female teachers at school, they often become very withdrawn and isolated.
Girls without fathers may have difficulties establishing a strong sense of self worth and attach themselves to any strong male figure that happens along (that may go badly).
It’s worth noting that in the US where they’ve had a lot of teenage school shootings/suicides, it’s frequently mentioned that it’s always boys, but rarely mentioned that it’s nearly always (~90%) boys from single mother households with no other male role model.
I also recently heard a discussion with Prof. Jonathan Haidt who said that girls in Gen Z were apparently suffering rather badly when given access to social media at a primary school age (they were the first generation where this happened at such an early age). The result has been a massive surge in depression and anxiety with matching suicide levels, specifically for girls in that age bracket, related to the way that teenage girls do bullying (put-downs, exclusion, isolation, and reputation destruction), that happens to map really well into social media. The boys who usually lean towards more physical bullying find it translates well into video games where nobody gets hurt, and a bunch of porn watching that probably induces a whole bunch of other future problems, but not so much as depression and anxiety in the here and now.
Our culture seems to have developed a crisis of meaning. With reasonably general financial stability as a country, the long slow fall of religion, breakdown of traditional family structures, and just generally less well defined roles for everyone, there’s a lot less certainty for young adults. At a time when they would normally be expanding into some role that will define the rest of their lives, instead, it all just seems a bit pointless. What am I striving for? Who will care, and why should they? are questions that seem to be asked. Nihilism looks pretty good at that point, and there’s plenty of drugs available (to be clear, the drugs are not the root cause in that arc of a story, but they can certainly give a boost to extant nihilistic tendencies).
Assuming you got through your twenties …
If you didn’t form a family, then you need to find something to somehow make it all worthwhile regardless, because most of the friends you grew up with split off and formed families and did family things in the suburbs.
Failing that the loneliness may just do you in.
If you did form a family, this is the age when families with children self destruct. The family court system is especially diabolical if you are the father in this situation. Something like 80% of divorces are initiated by the wife, with causes like “dissatisfaction”. You will be forced out of your home, denied access to your children, may have trumped up intervention orders against you, and you are expected to pay for it all while living in the cheapest accommodation you can find with nothing left over to live a life independent of all this and no future prospects. The family court always enforce payment orders, but never enforce visitation orders, and your parents hate you as well, because they just lost access to their grand children too.
I have known several men in this situation, and it is seriously fucked up. Killing yourself looks like a really good option right about then, but there are zero government services that automatically kick in when we’re doing this to men, and zero empathy from the courts. Hopefully you have some good friends to see you through.
There’s a sharp drop in suicides right about then.
If your family was going to break up, it probably already would have, and the kids are probably old enough now that they’re more independent, so this all makes sense.
There’s the obvious issue with a lack of compassionate euthanasia laws with strong safeguards, so some of the numbers in this space are people choosing to kill themselves rather than face a protracted painful dying process. I think we have policy on this.
There’s an issue where when one partner in a couple dies (of whatever cause), the other often dies very soon afterwards (maybe overt suicide, maybe of neglect), but our modern lifestyle has people living in isolation a lot more, so the community ties that might historically have reached out to the surviving partner may not be there.
I expect that if we don’t already have it, there will also soon be a growing number of retired people who never married, have no family and without work, simply find themselves alone.
There you go. That’ll probably do for a start.
I probably missed quite a few causes, but then there’s a strong lack of academic research on this too. I’ve looked.