According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more people died last year from suicide than from auto crashes. We most associate killing oneself with the young, but it strikes across the lines of age, race, and culture. It affects society in unexpected ways. Foreign Policy magazine ran an article with the headline, “America’s Suicide Epidemic Is a National Security Crisis.”
But it’s not just an American phenomenon. According to the World Health Organization, global suicide rates have risen more than 60% in the last 45 years. Almost a million people a year are known to succeed at taking their own lives. But that number is almost certainly low because of the extreme stigma in many cultures against suicide. People in those places kill themselves in ways that look accidental, or the family covers up afterward.
The epidemic took on a new dimension when we learned about an 8-year-old boy who apparently took his own life in Cincinnati. In a case of extremely violent school bullying, the boy had been beaten unconscious. The school called his mom. She went to pick him up, and both school officials and the boy told her that he had “fainted.”… read more