Suicide In Our Modern Context

INT21

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#91
You speculated that high unemployment might raise suicide rates. A little bit of Googling might enable you to support your thesis.

l’d be interested to see the results.

maximus otter
It's projection based on my own assessment of the future situation. So it probably won't chime with anyone else's thinking.
 

INT21

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#92
My reading of the odds is slightly different.

If 10 people in a group of, say, 100 ex miners, commits suicide then the chances of a similar group would also be 10%.

But for each person in the group the odds are 50/50. Either they will or they won't.

Demographic differences will make a large difference in the number of potential young men killing themselves. And as the number of workers required will be inversely proportional to the increase in young men coming of work age, I predict that this demographic will have an increase in suicides.

INT21.
 

EnolaGaia

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#93
Numerous survey and / or longitudinal studies have repeatedly found that unemployment is strongly correlated with an increased risk of suicide. These increases typically involve circa double to triple the suicide incidence among equivalent employed cohorts.

For example, this 2003 study from New Zealand is one of the most cited ones:

T. A. Blakely, S. C. D. Collings, & J. Atkinson
Unemployment and suicide. Evidence for a causal association?
J Epidemiol Community Health 2003;57 : 594–600.

https://jech.bmj.com/content/jech/57/8/594.full.pdf

However, correlation does not automatically mean causation. As the study cited above indicates, it's difficult to determine whether unemployment is a direct versus indirect causative factor in suicides.

Furthermore, there's no particular reason to raise this question with specific regard to young men. The same general effect is noted for women, too. For example, this 2001 longitudinal study:

Kposowa A. J.
Unemployment and suicide: a cohort analysis of social factors predicting suicide in the US National Longitudinal Mortality Study.
Psychol Med. 2001 Jan; 31(1):127 - 38.

... stated the following:

RESULTS:
After 3 years of follow-up, unemployed men were a little over twice as likely to commit suicide as their employed counterparts. Among men, the lower the socio-economic status, the higher the suicide risk. Among women, in each year of follow-up, the unemployed had a much higher suicide risk than the employed. After 9 years of follow-up unemployed women were over three times more likely to kill themselves than their employed counterparts.
SOURCE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11200951?dopt=Abstract
 

Mikefule

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#94
If 10 people in a group of, say, 100 ex miners, commits suicide then the chances of a similar group would also be 10%.

But for each person in the group the odds are 50/50. Either they will or they won't.
The fact that there are only two options (will/won't) does not make the odds 50/50.

Imagine a cube with "will" on one side, and "won't" on the other 5 sides. Now, roll it like a die.

The answer will be either will or won't but it's not 50/50. In this example, Won't is 5 times as likely as will.

So, back to the original example: if it is the case that the suicide rate for a group is 10%, and you know nothing else about an individual except that he is a member of the group, the odds of him committing suicide are 10% (or 1/10, or 90/10 against).

However, if you know more about the individual, you may find that he scores high or low on more specific risk indicators (e.g. age, marital status, good/bad health, etc.) then you may calculate that his personal risk is, say, 5% or 20%.

However, as I said in an earlier post, the difficulty is in testing whatever percentage risk we attach to that individual, because it is not a repeatable experiment.

One individual will either commit suicide or he won't. You can only count the one occasion when he does (if indeed he does) or observe the one occasion when he reaches the end of the study period still alive.

I suppose mathematically, you would say there was a 10% chance of him being 100% dead, and a 90% chance of him being 100% alive at the end of the specified period.
 

INT21

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#95
I would disagree.

Take a coin flip.

The odds it will come up heads is 50/50 for each flip.

But obviously the number of times it comes up heads for a given number of flips is variable.

I suppose it could be argued that in a more or less infinite number of flips the eventual count will be 50/50.

Everything averaging out.
 

INT21

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#96
Going back to your example of the dice with the single '5'. It is erroneous in this context due to the odds being 5:1 for any throw.
 

AnonyJoolz

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#97
I haven't read all the pages in this thread, so please excuse me if I make a contribution that echoes another post.

I live with a mental health condition and also volunteered and worked in that area for many years. Mental illness, in its many shapes and forms can kill. It often kills. It kills you either by suicide, self-medicating with various substances or engaging in risky behaviours. When I was working in the field in the 90s & 2000s, people with schizophrenia had a conservative 10% death rate from suicide, even when treated.

Some 'scary' illnesses like cancers can have a lower death rate.

Men and women choose to end their lives to end unbearable pain, whether mental, emotional or physical. Sometimes the choice is informed but normally it's irrational, bewildering and incomprehensible to us when we're well. I've been in states when I simply wanted to lay down and die because my brain chemistry was making my existence hellish but I'd also made a pact with myself and my family that I'd never do this. I had to endure weeks of symptoms of total panic, bleak cold emptiness and lack of will to live but being forced to. It's horrible. Give me physical pain and illness anyday (I've had a lot of that too but that's another story).

There is no simple answer but I'd hazard a guess that the massive cuts made to NHS mental health services & support services since 2009 are now biting very hard. Most areas will not take inpatients even when they are a risk to themselves, to be frank they don't have the beds, staff or energy to care if you do top yourself. I know some GPs and police are getting people sectioned just to get them into a safe place for a few days.

As to the figures, I suggest that as death rates from other causes has been dropping (traffic accidents, illness & disease) suicide has remained fairly constant and has now overtaken other causes. I remember when I was a teenager (early 80s) that car crashes were the biggest cause of death in young men, much has changed since then but mental illness will always remain.
 

AlchoPwn

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#98
I live with a mental health condition and also volunteered and worked in that area for many years. Mental illness, in its many shapes and forms can kill. It often kills. It kills you either by suicide, self-medicating with various substances or engaging in risky behaviours. When I was working in the field in the 90s & 2000s, people with schizophrenia had a conservative 10% death rate from suicide, even when treated. Some 'scary' illnesses like cancers can have a lower death rate.
It is incredibly tricky trying to "de-bug" a human brain and its chemistry. It is like trying to fix a computer when you have to retro-engineer the machine and its code without any point of reference, but worse, as the human brain may well be the most complicated thing in the universe that we have yet discovered. Oh, and you aren't allowed to turn the computer off or you "lose". Somehow, against the odds, humanity is making progress on this front.

I know it is likely cold comfort to people suffering from mental illness like yourself AnonJoolz, but there are a lot of dedicated people plugging away at the various problems every day, trying to find the answers. I am glad that you are highlighting the scale of the problem AnonyJoolz . Seriously, I wish you all the best with your illness and I hope you get adequate care.
 
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#99
It is incredibly tricky trying to "de-bug" a human brain and its chemistry. It is like trying to fix a computer when you have to retro-engineer the machine and its code without any point of reference, but worse, as the human brain may well be the most complicated thing in the universe that we have yet discovered. Oh, and you aren't allowed to turn the computer off or you "lose". Somehow, against the odds, humanity is making progress on this front.
So true.
 

Mikefule

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It is incredibly tricky trying to "de-bug" a human brain and its chemistry. It is like trying to fix a computer when you have to retro-engineer the machine and its code without any point of reference, but worse, as the human brain may well be the most complicated thing in the universe that we have yet discovered. Oh, and you aren't allowed to turn the computer off or you "lose".
Good post, thanks.

I would add that very often, the problem is not with the person, but with the interaction between that person and wider society.

There are women alive today (or at least, there were in the last 10 years or so) who spent their whole lives in mental hospitals because they had underage sex in the early 20th century. In the late 20th century, Homosexual men were treated as mentally aberrant and given drugs and electroconvulsive therapy. In the former Soviet Union, people who challenged the state risked being "diagnosed" as mentally ill.

Allowing society to determine what is "mentally ill" and what cure is appropriate is a dangerous business.

Today, a man who is long term unemployed is at risk of depression at least partly because of the way that society regards his position. Very often, the financial situation can be made at least bearable with benefits and other means of support, but the lack of social status and the lack of emotional support are a major problem.

A person who has been sexually abused as a child may suffer depression which is at least partly caused by the perceived need to keep quiet about it, and by the lack of understanding shown by large sections of society.

A woman who has been raped may be made to feel that "she must have done something to encourage it," and this adds to the risk of depression.

An alcoholic is part of a society that bombards him with images of alcohol consumption being not only socially desirable, but also a status symbol. A gambling addict with no job sits at home and sees that every second TV advert is for a betting company, bingo, or a lottery. And so on.

Modern western society often forces us to pretend, whether it is going behind a hedge to pee out of sight (of people who all know what you are doing), or it is the office worker who is forced day in and day out to be polite to rude customers, and defend company policies that they know are unjustifiable.

Everything about modern western society (at least in the UK) makes a taboo of anything that makes us into "mere animals": defecation, menstruation, terminal illness, death and bereavement.

For most of history, humans have lived lives in which they faced risks and dangers every day, but they had control over their own attempts to get food and shelter and to defend themselves against enemies. Life may have been nasty, brutish and short, but it was so in a more honest way for most people.

As a species, we have evolved to live that sort of hard but simple life of physical work, feeding ourselves, trying to hang on to loved ones for as long as possible, being cold and hungry, being ill, fighting hand to hand, and often dying young. Conversely, we have created a society in which all or most of the creature comforts are taken for granted, yet the rules we are required to live by are artificial, complicated and often senseless.

So, simply "debugging the brain" so that it can cope with modern society is a bit like putting a polar bear in an open air compound in a Californian zoo and then shaving it to solve the problem.

This is only one aspect of the problem, and I am not belittling or trivialising mental illness. I spent many years with daily thoughts of suicide and still have sudden and very deep depressions. Most of my problems have been caused by being intelligent and sensitive enough to see that what is going on around me is often absurd, unfair, dishonest, and pointless.

Or to put it another way, it may not help to adjust your TV set if the problem is mainly with the transmitter.
 
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INT21

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And do not forget that it is often in the interest of other parties that the person suffering does not get well.

In many cases because if they did, they would leave.
 

AnonyJoolz

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It is incredibly tricky trying to "de-bug" a human brain and its chemistry. It is like trying to fix a computer when you have to retro-engineer the machine and its code without any point of reference, but worse, as the human brain may well be the most complicated thing in the universe that we have yet discovered. Oh, and you aren't allowed to turn the computer off or you "lose". Somehow, against the odds, humanity is making progress on this front.

I know it is likely cold comfort to people suffering from mental illness like yourself AnonJoolz, but there are a lot of dedicated people plugging away at the various problems every day, trying to find the answers. I am glad that you are highlighting the scale of the problem AnonyJoolz . Seriously, I wish you all the best with your illness and I hope you get adequate care.
Thank you, sincerely, for your supportive words. It means a lot. I am lucky that the British NHS funds relatively advanced medications that certainly help me a great deal. They help me to have a life, rather than simply breathing and existing.


...As a species, we have evolved to live that sort of hard but simple life of physical work, feeding ourselves, trying to hang on to loved ones for as long as possible, being cold and hungry, being ill, fighting hand to hand, and often dying young. Conversely, we have created a society in which all or most of the creature comforts are taken for granted, yet the rules we are required to live by are artificial, complicated and often senseless...
This ^^ the best therapy is simple living, and working with our hands at something humans have done for millennia; digging, growing, creating, cooking, story-telling, making fire, chopping wood, praying, fishing, childcare. It's now called 'therapy' but really it's just doing those things that humans used to need to do to survive. I find it brings a real focus and purpose to living and I heartily recommend it.

We are at a crossroads, maybe, as a species. Do we use relatively new technologies to help us and support us in our age-old human activities and opt out of the consumerist frenzy and chasing the notion of 'money'? Or do we become subsumed by tech and slaves to it? My personal opinion is that tech is a tool, and it enables discussions like this, around a virtual village communal fire but beyond that it has no meaning.

I try to live as simply as I can within the limitations of my environment and medical conditions but the world around me seems intent on eating itself arse-first. I'm seen as the odd one because I still sit and watch bees working and have a bookshelf and forget to check my phone for a few days. I might have mental pain, but who is the crazy one, really?
 

Naughty_Felid

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Enola Gaia,

I was thinking of the Social Worker who is allocated to a (often) teenager who has ended up in all kinds of problems often due to bad behaviour. Or to a family breakdown.

Not so much as the role usually filled by a psychologist., Someone you may go to if you feel you need to 'talk it out' with a person who is outside the problem.

INT21.
I think you misunderstand the role of social workers and or other mental health professionals.

If a young person is at risk then there will be a multi-disciplinary approach to their care. Yes, they might have a social worker as a case manager, (who will have training in delivering therapy btw), but that case manager is also backed up by the rest of his or her team which is made up of several professionals.
 

AlchoPwn

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The best therapy is simple living, and working with our hands at something humans have done for millennia; digging, growing, creating, cooking, story-telling, making fire, chopping wood, praying, fishing, childcare. It's now called 'therapy' but really it's just doing those things that humans used to need to do to survive. I find it brings a real focus and purpose to living and I heartily recommend it.
Creatures like myself thrive on the glorious technicolor of complexity, but in that regard I am pretty abnormal. For all that I certainly do a lot of meditation to heal up, de-stress, and fine tune my brain. I certainly understand the value of a simple life too, and I have spent plenty of time in the outdoors or in cabins in the woods, and not just to dispose of bodies (jk), but I'm a city kid and "I likes me my creature comforts". I love holidays that allow me to have a simple life, but it is not a life goal for me. I also wouldn't recommend meditation for anyone with schizophrenia, as it has a habit of causing episodes, a bit like isolation tanks. I like the Apollonian maxim that "most things in moderation are fine", as well as the Dionysian addendum "including moderation".

We are at a crossroads, maybe, as a species. Do we use relatively new technologies to help us and support us in our age-old human activities and opt out of the consumerist frenzy and chasing the notion of 'money'? Or do we become subsumed by tech and slaves to it? My personal opinion is that tech is a tool, and it enables discussions like this, around a virtual village communal fire but beyond that it has no meaning.
If by tech, you mean the internet and the devices that allow us to access it, then I completely agree with you. On the other hand, I consider electricity, gas, and water to be "tech", as the systems involved in their provision to cities are remarkable. There is a lot of tech that is not computer based, and much of it is being integrated and improved in various ways by integrating computers. Yes, tech is a tool, but a tool is a means to expand what the human body can do, potentially towards and beyond what we can imagine. As to the consumerist world, well, I would love to see what a post-scarcity world would look like.

I try to live as simply as I can within the limitations of my environment and medical conditions but the world around me seems intent on eating itself arse-first. I'm seen as the odd one because I still sit and watch bees working and have a bookshelf and forget to check my phone for a few days. I might have mental pain, but who is the crazy one, really?
I know it doesn't seem this way, and often everything seems to be getting crazier, but to that end I largely blame the news. This is not to suggest that I think the news is fake, but that catastrophism sells. I find the news to be the main thing that makes me take a dim view of humanity. If you remove the news from your life, after about a week, the world does seem more sane imo.
 
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This ^^ the best therapy is simple living, and working with our hands at something humans have done for millennia; digging, growing, creating, cooking, story-telling, making fire, chopping wood, praying, fishing, childcare. It's now called 'therapy' but really it's just doing those things that humans used to need to do to survive. I find it brings a real focus and purpose to living and I heartily recommend it.
I heartily recommend;
The Case for Working with Your Hands: Or Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good: Amazon.co.uk
 

INT21

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Living simply is quite therapeutic. IF you can afford to do so.

We do live in a high tech world. And the 'back to the land and set my soul free' hippy idealism simply is not going to work anymore.
A simple example. A few minutes ago I wanted to pay my gas bill via the web. Something I have done since it became possible. So I get to the sign-on page and can't get past the first stage of entering my Email address. Odd because I have done this many times.

Then it dawns.

Change my browser from Firefox to Avast Secure Browser, repeat the process, and lo! there is a capche that doesn't appear with Firefox.

From then on it's plain sailing.

Tech is moving forward all the time. We have to keep up.

Those who can't can become victims of stress, and may opt out altogether.

INT21
 

Mungoman

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Tech is moving forward all the time. We have to keep up.
I worked with Council operating systems and library databases from 1985 till 2009, and know that when you get a good one, you want to hang onto it.

BUT.

It seems that as soon as the IT desk irons out all the glitches, management then decides to have a new one installed, with all the inevitable fine tuning that goes on...or someone in management is competing with a person/friend in a parallel council/organisation/office and decides that we MUST have this because it's all the go in the US/UK.

I am so glad that every book that comes out is not written in a reformatted form of the english language...

I used to say, thank the Gods for work - it would distract me from my self but a new operating system would guarantee a muckraking of the soul and psyche - not to the extent of planning suicide, but sufficient enough to bring all those thought and memories of doubt and social embarrassment back...

The pleasure of a Friday evening at home is many times ruined by the constant thought of needing to get out of bed on a Monday morn...and just trying to keep up.

I love my private, crowded solitude with all its wonders, but that 50 years of dutiful imprisonment that I served to pay enough tax to get my pension was a fucking purgatory, and I can understand why some people choose to opt out.
 
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