Death has had a lot of press lately. Especially suicide. When two celebrities’ lives are taken away in such short order, it’s not surprising that the world wants to talk about it.
And for good reasons. As much as suicide has been blamed on poverty among minorities, and even bullying, the troubling but stubborn fact is that it’s not that simple. The highest rate of suicide today is among middle-aged white people, but it is growing in other age groups as well. Suicides rates in 2014 were the highest in three decades, where 13 out of every 100,000 people murdered themselves. That’s a 24% increase from 1999. 2006 – 2016 saw a staggering 70% increase in suicide rates among white children. It is a significant problem.
A big media news story about Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade argued that the problem is a lack of funding for psychiatric health at the federal level. In other words, it’s Trump’s fault. But the notion of funding seems shallow when considering two celebrities whose net worth are $16 million and $200 million respectively. It seems we are grasping at straws.
Sociologists point to increasing isolation and weakness in building real and lasting relationships caused by technology and social media. This argument certainly has some merit but fails to answer the question of why we allow technology to do this to us. We are not passive recipients of technology. We choose to replace real, face-to-face human relationships with digital ones. Why?
But let’s shift gears to a different kind of death for a moment. [Read more…]