Americans not ‘killing themselves softly,’ just killing themselves in large numbers

23 Sep

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Americans not ‘killing themselves softly, just killing themselves in large numbers. According to the Daily Mail report, More Americans now commit suicide than die in car crashes as miserable economy takes its toll. Among the statistics cited by the Daily Mail are:

Researchers noted a 25 per cent decrease in car accident deaths, reported, while deaths from falls rose 71 per cent, from poisoning 128 per cent and from suicide 15 per cent.

Higher automobile standards were credited for the traffic deaths drop, with harsher penalties for underage drinking and failing to wear seat belts named as contributing factors.

Previous research has suggested that suicide rates go up during recessions and times of economic crisis.

‘Economic problems can impact how people feel about themselves and their futures as well as their relationships with family and friends,’ Feijun Luo of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention told Bloomberg.

‘Prevention strategies can focus on individuals, families, neighborhoods or entire communities to reduce risk factors.’

The shift makes suicide the most frequent cause of injury deaths, followed by car crashes, poisoning, falls and murder.
As this post is written, there is a no-holds barred presidential election campaign going on. Probably, either side would love to claim the other side is responsible for the spike in suicides just as they are claiming the other side is responsible for the economic meltdown.

People may or may not be depressed because because of the economy. Still, an exclusive focus on money does not necessarily bring happiness. Sonja Lyubomirsky writes in the Scientific American article, Can Money Buy Happiness?

The researchers argue that because wealth allows people to experience the best that life has to offer, it ultimately undermines their ability to savor life’s little pleasures. Once we’ve had the opportunity to drink the finest French wines, fly in a private jet, eat foie gras with edible gold leaf, and watch the Super Bowl from a box seat, coffee at Starbucks with a friend, a sunny day after a week of rain, or an unexpected Reese’s peanut butter cup on our desks just doesn’t provide the same jolt of happiness it used to. Indeed, a landmark study of lottery winners showed just that: People who had won between $50,000 and $1,000,000 (in 1970s dollars) were less impressed by life’s simple pleasures than people who experienced no such windfall.

Perhaps, in the search to acquire that next whatever or to impress that whoever, we have lost the ability to connect with family, friends or to just savor a barefoot walk on the beach. When there is no material index to measure one’s worth, some find life is just not worth living. How sad.

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”
Emma Goldman

There are characteristics of happy people, see


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