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Culture and society, loss of identity

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11. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 9y

Quick question Eleniki - what part of the world are you referring to when you say that suicides are on the increase in young men? I was of the impression that suicide rates in most countries were continuing to drop.

12. Posted by Eleniki (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

Ok, now I actually am copying and pasting!! Info below from:
http://www.canadiancrc.com/articles/Times_Rates_highest_among_young_men_09NOV04.htm

Rates are highest among young men
The London Times (article is 3 years old)
SUICIDES accounted for 13 per cent of the 27,100 inquest verdicts in England and Wales last year, with 2,511 men killing themselves compared with 744 women.

The highest ever suicide numbers occurred around 1931, at the start
of the Depression, when rates for the older age groups were higher
than those of the youngest groups. However, since the end of the 1950s there has been a marked increase in suicide death rates in people aged 15 to 24 and a sharp decline in those over 44.

Last year's total figures were the second lowest since 1988, and since the 1990s the number has always remained below 4,000. Young men are the most likely to kill themselves, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Young women aged 15-44 had the lowest suicide rate between 1979 and 2001.
The ONS found that suicide in young men from hanging, strangulation and suffocation had almost doubled between 1979 and 1998. There was also a 50 per cent increase in suicide by those methods among young women during the 1990s, with 46 per cent using drugs and 27 per cent killing themselves by hanging, suffocation or strangulation.

Antidepressants and paracetamol were the two most commonly mentioned substances on all drug-related poisoning suicide death certificates in both 1993 and 2001.

This is another relevant link:

http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/articles/a_0507_001.shtml

Hmmm..found an interesting paragraph in this one:

Rates of suicide among males in these countries were strongly linked to levels of individualism. The authors suggest that this could be one possible factor accounting for the dramatic rise in male suicide rates in the past 50 years. These authors go on to suggest that common markers of "progress" in industrialized nations (e.g., materialism, mobility, individualism) are not always balanced with a corresponding commitment to social obligation and tradition. This may be particularly so for "newer" industrialized countries like Australia, New Zealand, United States, and Canada, all of which have witnessed a tripling of their youth suicide rates since the 1950s.

It is not clear from this study why the "costs" of individualism might be greater for young males than females in terms of increased risks for suicide. The authors, however, suggest that the failure of these Western societies to provide appropriate sources of social identity and attachment, while at the same time promoting unrealistic expectations of personal freedom and autonomy, might be contributing factors. It is possible that this combination of expectations and social circumstances may be more of a hazard for males than females.

13. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 9y

Quoting Eleniki

But, re your point about family as opposed to society, surely family is part of society?

I do agree that family is part of society. I guess that what I was trying to say is that I think this is less effected by outside society and that the greater impact comes from family unit. Yes outside has something to do with the disintegration of the family unit, but I believe we are also just allowing ourselves to be more emotionally detached. Hmmmmm . . .

14. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 9y

Sorry, totally lost . . . The article seems to suggest that suicides in young men have reduced in number over the years and that it's the prevalence of certain methods of suicides that are on the increase.

15. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 9y

Well, I did a bit of looking around online and what I found seemed to be this (generally for developed/industrial countries): While the male suicide rate has always been higher than the female rate the separation is continuing to widen. While the suicide rate overall is decreasing it seems to be, especially for males, becoming higher in list of causes of death (as the mortality rate in general is also decreasing.)

16. Posted by Eleniki (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

Quoting from my own post:

"However, since the end of the 1950s there has been a marked increase in suicide death rates in people aged 15 to 24 and a sharp decline in those over 44."
"The ONS found that suicide in young men from hanging, strangulation and suffocation had almost doubled between 1979 and 1998. "
'The authors suggest that this could be one possible factor accounting for the dramatic rise in male suicide rates in the past 50 years. '
'...countries like Australia, New Zealand, United States, and Canada, all of which have witnessed a tripling of their youth suicide rates since the 1950s.'

17. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

Hi Eleniki,

Interesting post.

Well, being from Ireland I can certainly back up what Eleniki is saying. I'm from Limerick in the Mid-West, which until recently (or it may still) had the highest suicide rate in the country - mainly young men.

It's almost paradoxical really isn't it? I mean, take Ireland, now a leading world economy and one of the richest countries per capita. We should be happy right?
But people are just increasingly dissatisfied with their lives from what i can see, especially people of my own generation. My parents agegroup seem happier, and I dont think that's necessarily because they are older and wiser, but more due to the times they grew up in. They know the value of things more perhaps, are satisfied with less...I don;t know.

Maybe the world is becoming diluted culturally and it leads to a sense of being more of an ant, but I'm not sure if that's what's causing young people to kill themselves. I believe it has more to do with the pressures we impose on ourselves. Life can be about a constant "measuring" if you allow it to be, and it's easy to feel inadequate in today's world. The dissolution of The Family is I think a huge factor too.

One thing that really struck me on my travels was how smiling the people in poorer countries are, despite their disadvantages and sometimes misery. I'm not saying I'd rather be poor, but it does make you stop and look at your values and what is driving you.

I do think the world is becoming depressingly homogenised. Travellers now are chasing those places that still remain largely untouched by globalisation before they start to change. But I think that you have to nurture your own culture - it should be inside of yourself. If enough people strive to keep traditions alive, you will always keep your country's unique culture burning...even if it's only an ember.

18. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 9y

Quoting samsara2

Hi Eleniki,

Interesting post.

Well, being from Ireland I can certainly back up what Eleniki is saying. I'm from Limerick in the Mid-West, which until recently (or it may still) had the highest suicide rate in the country - mainly young men.

It's almost paradoxical really isn't it? I mean, take Ireland, now a leading world economy and one of the richest countries per capita. We should be happy right?
But people are just increasingly dissatisfied with their lives from what i can see, especially people of my own generation. My parents agegroup seem happier, and I dont think that's necessarily because they are older and wiser, but more due to the times they grew up in. They know the value of things more perhaps, are satisfied with less...I don;t know.

It's similar here in Australia. We've had phenomenal economic growth over the past 15 years, unemployment has plummeted to negligible levels (it's effectively a negative unemployment rate amongst the educated), and people have never been better off materially. But study after study shows that people are not happier. A social commentator here says that people are suffering from what he calls "Affluenza"; lots of outward affluence, but little inner happiness. Society is so competitive now - it's all based on what job you have, where you live, how big your fukcing TV is ("do you have a plasma or an LCD"?), and what sort of car you drive.

People here in Sydney are obsessed with everything to do with property, but are particularly keen to find out whether you "got in before the boom" or not. They will then mentally calculate how much your house is worth, how much you paid for it, and determine the size of your mortgage - all to see whether they are "better off" than you.

It's such utter bullshit.

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 30, 2007, at 3:47 AM by james ]

19. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

You know, I do wonder some days if one of the reasons so many young men end up like this is because they have become emasculated in today's world.

Now, don't get me wrong, I believe in women's rights as much as the next person and I like to think that it benefits men to have a partner they can relate to on an intellectual level and share responsibilities with....but if you look at the traditional role of men, it has always been the protector, the provider, the stronghold, the fixer of lightbulbs, and the squasher of creepy crawlies. As time goes by, women seem to depend less and less on men. Of course, in many ways that has to be a good thing, and I am a firm believer that every women should be able to fend for herself if needs be. Not having a man in your life isn't the end of the world, but it certainly is desirable in my view.

Maybe, as women, we need to make the men in our lives feel more like men. Maybe it's okay to let them know that we need them without feeling that we've relinquished some of our independence.

Just a thought...

20. Posted by Eleniki (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

Samsara, I thought this thread was dead, and I regretted trying to start it, but you summed up precisely what I tried to say in my original post. I didn't want to focus particularly on suicide, but more on what culture is, why we travel to find places that retain even a thread of individuality. The way things are going, I think these places, like the polar bear, will soon be extinct. A friend of mine who goes to a small greek island every year because she loves the culture; the traditions; the food; the music; the festivals; says that this year for the first time she noticed obesity among the island's children, which she puts down to the prepared/frozen food culture of our homogenised western world finally showing its impact. I know Greece is hardly the nether end of the universe, but this island is fairly isolated, or so she thought. Discos and clubs are now opening up and the costumed music and story-telling traditions are dying. As Q said we must embrace change, but surely positive change is when something progresses, rather than dies and is replaced with the 'default lifestyle' we see everywhere (much of which has come out of the U.S. with all respect to our american TPers) I believe in conservation too: the conservation of our earth - if we can work towards saving species/forests/climate from destruction, why can't we conserve our unique cultures? This is not about stick-in-the-mud, don't want change, narrow-mindedness; it's about preservation of countless valuable identities.
I agree with your thoughts on emasculation completely by the way. It must be pretty confusing for men in these times of mixed messages from women.