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November 18, 2016
In "A river of lost souls runs through western Colorado" Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Amy Ellis Nutt of the Washington Post tells the tragic tales of suicide out West:
Although more men than women take their own lives, the rate of suicide has nearly doubled among middle-aged white women since 1999 — rising from 7 per 100,000 to 12.6 in 2014 — helping to explain a startling increase in their early mortality.
The numbers are even worse for middle-aged white women with a high school diploma or less. For them, the suicide rate has more than doubled over the past 15 years, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal health data. Most of the victims lived in small towns and rural areas, particularly in the Southeast and in mountain states, where social isolation can be acute.
Colorado has the fourth-highest suicide rate in the nation for white women ages 45 to 54.
While the stories are poignant and troubling at the same time, it is curious that the article only focuses on the use of drugs.
Most worked physically demanding jobs. Most suffered from chronic pain. And most struggled with mental-health issues that, surviving friends and relatives say, were addressed through psychiatric medications that were ultimately ineffective.
Multiple prescriptions for depression may have played the primary role—or not. The article can't say. An obvious question is not addressed: how many of the victims attended church regularly? Granted, sometimes regular church attendees commit suicide. Maybe all of them did. Maybe most of them did not. Another detail triggers an obvious question: One victim worked security for Planned Parenthood. How many of these women may have had abortions? How depressing would it be to spend time in a place where lives are being deliberately snuffed out?
So we end up with a story about a life-and-death issue that only gives us one very ambiguous factor in the drama without even touching on other question that should be obvious. Does the loss of religious faith create greater space for emotional depression? How much depression is caused by chemical imbalance and how much by other factors? And why is depression growing in our society? Now an article that would explore those questions openly would be a lot more interesting—and helpful.
Further reading from Salvo:
Raising Daughters in Troubled Times
by Marcia Segelstein
A Buried Grief
Finally, There Is More Help for Women Hurt by Abortion
by Marcia Segelstein
A Review of Nancy Pearcey's Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning
by Terrell Clemmons
Also, be sure to take a look at the new issue of Salvo!
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