Suicide rates have been rising dramatically. But of special concern, as reported in The New York Times is the number of middle-aged men killing themselves: “Suicide has typically been viewed as a problem of teenagers and the elderly, and the surge in suicide rates among middle-aged Americans is surprising.” “It is the baby boomer group where we see the highest rates of suicide,” said the C.D.C.’s deputy director, Ileana Arias. “The boomers had great expectations for what their life might look like, but I think perhaps it hasn’t panned out that way.” The University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox recently pointed out in The Atlantic that there’s a strong link between suicide and weakened social ties. It has been getting tougher for men. Brought up to believe they are the stronger sex, expected to be the primary bread-winner for their families, with corporate leaders and entrepreneurs as role models, they have been finding it difficult to sustain their expected social roles. As a result, their self-esteem has been taking a beating. Wilcox goes on: “And over the last two decades, it’s men without college degrees who have ended up most disconnected from the core institutions of work, marriage, and civil society. Guess who is most likely to kill themselves? Men without college degrees.” Ross Douthat commenting on these trends in The Times noted: “The hard question facing 21st-century America is whether this retreat from community can reverse itself, or whether an aging society dealing with structural unemployment and declining birth and marriage rates is simply destined to leave more people disconnected, anxious and alone.” And he moves away from seeing it as relevant to politics and social policy. At the very end of his piece, citing an article in The New Republic on “The Lethality of Loneliness,” he notes “one in three Americans over 45 identifies as chronically lonely.” In other words, he changes the subject: “There are public and private ways to manage this loneliness epidemic — through social workers, therapists, even pets. And the Internet, of course, promises endless forms of virtual community to replace or supplement the real.” From an article by Ken Eisold, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hidden-motives/201305/suicide-loneliness-and-the-vulnerability-men
You cannot be lonely
if you like the person
you’re alone with.
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