Watching the TV news is depressing, but now I can’t even read the Newspaper! I started out my day be learning that people ages 35 to 64 (I land right in the middle) account for about 57 percent of suicides in the United States. The suicide rate among middle-aged (35-64 years old) Americans has climbed a startling 28 percent between 1999 and 2010. During the 11 year period studied, suicide went from the eighth leading cause of death among middle-aged Americans to the fourth, behind cancer, heart disease and accidents.
The trend was most pronounced among white men and women in that age group; their suicide rate jumped 40%. There was little change in younger and older people and middle-aged African Americans, Hispanics and most other racial and ethnic groups. According to the Associated Press, the reason for the increase is that caucasians do not have the same kind of church support and extended families that African Americans and Hispanics do.
After reading this article, one of our counselors Denise Pfhal shared: “This is true…I will never forget reading about a study done years ago in a small Mexican village… which confirms this report…they studied the village because there was virtually no evidence of mental illness (can you imagine this?)….the primary reason-large extended families of support and not only your own extended family, but your cousins extended family, and your neighbors extended families would also be there for support-not to mention the local church families! They had a “true” relational/functional community. Isolative communities lacking a spiritual rudder (hopelessness) define our current state of affairs…and the resulting rampant addiction and emotional disorders reflect this.”
Another theory for the increased suicide rate notes that white baby boomers have always had higher rates of depression and suicide, and that has held true as they’ve hit middle age. A third theory is the growing abuse of prescription painkillers over the past decade. Based on death certificates, perscription drug abuse leads to overdose and/or puts people in a frame of mind to attempt suicide by other means.
Whatever the cause, the end result is alarming! What is the church doing to impact this world in which we live? More important, what am I doing to impact this world? The Prince of Peace that offers a peace that passes comprehension must be introduced.
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