The graphic is typical of most western countries, where it seems that suicides are rising for those above 40 years (accounting for population differences). Prof John Ashton attributes this to "the dramatically changed position of men in society vis-a-vis women and vis-a-vis the labour market" is affecting "men's self-esteem and self-confidence". If that is true then he simply means that it is all economically driven.
But a closer reading shows that actually the age band 30 - 44 years which is equally affected by "changed roles" has remained flat. While among those below 30 years, it is actually falling. The explanation may therefore be down to that the fact that those below 30 years are increasing optimistic about life, and those above 45 years later discover that the optimism was misplaced.
We are living more and more in a society that promises the world only to fill it with emptiness. When the chips are in we find ourselves unfulfilled and lonely. And this issue will get worse as societies become more commodified. In both issues the church has the answer. Only the good news of Jesus that restores our relationship with God can meet our deepest needs. And this good news when it is properly shared and practised, it not only rescues sinners from sin but brings them into a family with a true sense of belonging.
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