What is the connection between suicide and the economy?
I was intrigued by Timothy S. Paul's and Stephanie Berger's essay, "NYC Suicide Rate 29% higher at Economy's Nadir vs. Peak," from Paul, Timothy S., and Stephanie Berger. "NYC Suicide Rate 29%Higher at Econom'ys Nadir vs. Peak." Columbia University Medical Center. National Institutes of Health, 16 Mar 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2012.
I'm learning more about motives behind suicide right now, and in particular what I'm wondering about is: What makes people commit suicide? I was researching this question online, and this blog post caught my attention because it was on Columbia University's website. I knew that Columbia University is one of the best ranked colleges in the world, so I believed that people who speak/write for it probably have educated and respectable opinions. Also, I am considering putting Columbia as one of my college choices in the future, so I didn't think it would hurt to examine one of it's web blogs.
“The reasons behind an individual’s decision to take his or her life are often complex and difficult to understand, even for family and friends,” (Paul, and Berger)
The quote I chose here is basically saying that in many scenarios, the motives behind suicide are only visible to the suicidal people themselves. No matter how close some some may feel to their friend/loved one in distress, it is still most probable to make him/her see a psychiatrist or do all that is possible in assisting with the issue.
I think this is a realistic viewpoint because as with any common decisions, the decision to take a life, especially one's own, may be influenced by others but ultimately comes down to the individual. It makes me wonder about how the multiple suicides documented in the news may have extremely varied motives that even well-trained doctors may be unable to deduce. For example, I may not recall the name, but the gay student who had recently committed suicide supposedly because of his roommate's actions may have had a combination of other influences. Perhaps he had been a victim of a long period of bullying, or simply felt dissatisfied with a boring life.
Another sentence Paul and Berger wrote that stands out for me is: "The monthly rate of suicide ranged from a low of 0.42 per 100,000 residents at the economy’s peak in 2000 to a high of 0.54 per 100,000 residents during the economic low in 1992—a difference of 29%." I think this is sensible because when times are tough, certain people with weakened resolves may see the situation as hopeless and unchangeable. Particularly for big risk-big reward workers such as stock brokers, if they can't take times of loss, they may crack under the stress and find it reasonable for themselves to take their own lives.
A third sentence that I really liked was: "If there is overall message from the new findings, Dr. Galea says, it is that when governments face budget shortfalls, they should think twice before cutting mental health services" This stood out for me because I was expecting a primarily fact-based article, but this provided a powerful opinion that closed the authors' point quite well.
I do very much agree with Paul and Berger that if the government wants to cut spending, they should steer clear of mental studies and treatments. One reason I say this is because my father (a psychiatrist) often discusses how a lot of funds are taken off mental health services, making his job tougher and making the patients' lives proportionately difficult. Another reason I agree/disagree with Paul and Berger is because of the increasing epidemic of suicides in today's society. Especially because of the eve of the internet, lives have become much less private, and the failures of an individual can become known to the world within seconds; This can only destroy self-esteem and promote a growing amount of self-hatred that can only be cured with a correspondingly expanding mental field.
What I appreciate about these writers' work is how he and she can keep their information short and to the point, while still giving the big, important facts. I look forward to seeing what he and she write next, because they really sound like they know their stuff. They always cite their sources, whether it be from Columbia's own studies or news reports, and can make their evidence interesting. Also, I appreciate the subtle, yet effective personal touch the put in at the end of the article.