Tag Archives: “deaths of despair”

“Deaths of despair” in US now at highest level ever

According to a shocking new report from the Commonwealth Fund, the suicide rate in the United States is at a new high.  Sadly, the same thing can be said about the death rates from drug overdoses and alcohol.  All three death rates are at an all-time record high, and yet our society is still fairly stable at the moment.   Americans today have literally thousands of different ways to entertain themselves, and yet we have never been unhappier.  One out of every six Americans is taking psychiatric drugs, we are currently dealing with “the worst drug crisis in American history”, and people are killing themselves in record numbers.

Even though “deaths of despair” have reached record levels, the researchers at the Commonwealth Fund found that there are major regional differences.  Rates of deaths from suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol have reached an all-time high in the United States, but some states have been hit far harder than others.

Researchers discovered that the states with the highest death rates from drug overdoses  were all in northern Appalachia

“When we look at what’s going on in mid-Atlantic states — West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania — those are the states that have the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the country,” David Radley, a senior scientist for the Commonwealth Fund, said. Rates in those states are at least double the national average of fatal drug overdose rates.

West Virginia had the highest drug overdose death rates, fueled mostly by the opioid epidemic. What’s more, those rates rose by 450 percent from 2005 to 2017, according to the report.

In addition, the New England states also have extremely high drug overdose death rates.

Nationally, the number of Americans who die from an opioid overdose each year now exceeds the number dying in car accidents.

Meanwhile, for suicide and alcohol deaths it is a completely different story.  In both cases, researchers found that the highest rates are out west

Death rates from suicide and alcohol also showed regional disparities. People died at higher rates by suicide or from alcohol than from drugs in Montana, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Oregon and Wyoming.

In particular, the suicide rate is disturbingly high in rural western areas, and this agrees with a previously published CDC study which discovered that the suicide rate in rural areas is actually 45 percent higher than in “large urban areas”…

The suicide rate in rural America is 45% greater than in large urban areas, according to a study released last fall by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A more recent CDC report said Montana’s suicide rate leads the nation, coming in at nearly twice the national average. A third long-touted CDC study, currently under review, listed farming in the occupational group, along with fishing and forestry, with the highest rate of suicide deaths.

That occupational study was based on 2012 data, when farming was strong and approaching its peak in 2013, says Jennifer Fahy, communications director for the nonprofit Farm Aid. Farmers’ net income has fallen 50% since 2013 and is expected to drop to a 12-year low this year, the US Department of Agriculture reports.

Sadly, U.S. farmers are currently having their worst year in a generation, and they desperately need our support.

Overall, the new report from the Commonwealth Fund found that since 2005 drug overdose deaths in the United States are up 115 percent, alcohol deaths are up 37 percent, and suicides are up 28 percent.

Thanks in large part to those numbers, life expectancy in the United States has now fallen for three years in a row.

Despite all of our advanced technology, and despite our massively bloated debt-fueled standard of living, many Americans are desperately unhappy.  In an attempt to “cure” our unhappiness, many of us have turned to the medical system for answers, and as a result more Americans are on antidepressants than ever before.  In fact, NBC News has reported that one out of every six Americans is currently on at least one psychiatric drug…

One in six Americans take some kind of psychiatric drugs — mostly antidepressants, researchers reported Monday.

They also found that twice as many white people take those drugs as do African-Americans or other minorities, and fewer than 5 percent of Asian-Americans do. And most people who take them are taking them long-term, Thomas Moore of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in Alexandria, Virginia and colleagues found.

But no matter how powerful a drug is, it can never give you hope.  Life really can be filled with meaning and purpose, but most Americans are searching for those things in all the wrong places.

We like to think that our approach to life is superior to the way previous generations of Americans did things, but the numbers say that they were actually far happier than we are.

 

[From an article published by The Economic Collapse Blog]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Losing hope: Suicide deaths hit record levels

Losing hope: There is a remedy that works

For the third year in a row, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control, American life expectancy dropped.

The last time this happened was a century ago, in the years 1915-1918, years marked by our entry into World War I and the outbreak of the “Spanish Flu” pandemic, which killed 675,000 Americans.

This time, neither war nor pestilence is behind the drop in life expectancy. The threats are not external, but internal.

The biggest factors behind the drop in life expectancy among Americans over the last three years are drug overdoses and suicides.  In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and approximately 45,000 people intentionally took their own lives.

These deaths, along with alcohol-related deaths, have been dubbed “deaths of despair” by researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton.  The “despair” referred to by Case and Deaton is largely economic, resulting from diminished job prospects and other personal disappointments.  As Case put it, “Your family life has fallen apart, you don’t know your kids anymore, all the things you expected when you started out your life just haven’t happened at all.”

As a result, people turn to alcohol and drugs to ease their pain. An increasing number take their own lives.

Certainly, Case and Deaton’s explanation is partially true. But it doesn’t explain the 30-percent rise in suicide rates among 15-to-24 year-olds, who haven’t experienced these kinds of disappointments. Nor does material deprivation explain why the suicide rate among African Americans and Hispanics is only about a third that of white Americans despite being, on average, poorer.

Something else is going on. And it’s related to the word “despair.”

Some people would call despair a sin.  If you define “despair” as extreme sorrow or grief, then calling it a sin seems cruel and unfeeling.  But that’s not really what despair is.

In the Christian view, despair is the opposite of hope. Thomas Aquinas wrote that despair “is due to a man’s failure to hope that he will share in the goodness of God.” For Aquinas, despair was more dangerous than even unbelief or hatred of God because “by hope we are called back from evils and induced to strive for what is good, and if hope is lost, men fall headlong into vices, and are taken away from good works.”

For Aquinas, “nothing is more execrable than despair. For he who despairs loses his constancy in the daily labors of this life, and what is worse, loses his constancy in the endeavor of faith.” As the sixth-century theologian Isidore of Seville put it, “to commit a crime is death to the soul; but to despair is to descend into hell.”

If there’s a better word than “Hell” to describe the despair we are seeing in so many American communities, it would be hard to find it.

Still the question does remain, “What is the source of this despair?” The answer lies in Aquinas’ words “share in the goodness of God.” Put simply, Americans can easily place their hope in the wrong thing.

This refers not only to those who kill themselves, whether deliberately or indirectly. They’re merely the most vulnerable victims of a worldview that has us, in Isaiah’s words, spending money on that which is not bread, and working for what doesn’t satisfy.

Their disappointment is more keenly felt than ours, but make no mistake, the expectations our culture imposes on us will ultimately end in death. If not physical death, spiritual death. We’re told to seek satisfaction from things that cannot ultimately satisfy us, such as sex, stuff, and self.

Unfortunately social media has the ability to compound the issue by often making people feel like they don’t have enough or can’t “keep up with the Joneses” on a daily basis as we see into the lives of others.

The results are what Aquinas would have predicted: a headlong fall into vice and away from seeking to do good. The most vulnerable among us wind up paying the ultimate price.

But to know Jesus and His resurrection is to know hope.  May we never hide that in a culture that needs it so desperately.

Do you trust people you don’t know?  Most of us would answer by saying “Of course not!”  (And sometimes it’s even difficult to trust people we DO know!)  But you CAN trust Jesus, because you CAN get to know Him.  Intimately.  All you need to do is spend a small amount of time, first, asking Him to bring you into His family, and second, reading all about Him in the Bible.  (Start with the gospel of John.)  Visit WHOFIRST.COM to learn more.

 

[From an article published by PROPHECY NEWS WATCH]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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