We are living at a time of great change, with the need for the economy to respond quickly to recent developments in technology. As a result, industry is cutting back, firing is common, and the resort to mergers is adding to the 'downsizing' syndrome, and more unemployment. Having a life time job has pretty much disappeared. Unlimited competition, the flexibility of employers to hire irregular workers, the government's emphasis on economic development, the numbers of unemployed and suicides are all related.
A professor in preventive medicine at the Catholic
University medical school begins her culture of life column in the Peace
Weekly with the above observations. She makes clear that what is
happening in the financial world is having a decided influence on those
in their forties who are suicide-prone. Family ties and societal
support systems are weak and are not able to overcome the daily
stresses people routinely encounter today.
Stress, we know, is a
part of life; it permeates all of society, but many are not able to
deal effectively with it. A survey of 600 workers found that 33 percent
believed the work they were doing was excessive. Many found the pressure
was too much and contemplated leaving their work. One out of three had
some psychogenic illness and felt they were heading toward burnout.
faced with stress, she says, there is a change in our bodies and minds.
Our minds become troubled, putting us on edge and irritated, often
without any good reason. Because of these feelings of uneasiness and
depression, the quality of our lives is greatly diminished.
is now as prevalent in our society, the professor says, as the common
cold, and is a problem we have yet to deal with successfully. One out of
four women struggles with it, and one out of ten men. All ages and
classes, in fact, are susceptible to bouts of depression, but those from
40 to 50 are said to be the most vulnerable.
Because of a loss
of confidence in dealing with life, a loss of self respect, many
depressed people consider themselves losers, failures. And there is
nobody, they think, that can help them resolve the problems they face.
And when they reach bottom, without hope, suicide becomes a possible way
out for them. Some try to alleviate the problem by drinking, which only
makes matters worse. But in the beginning stages, 80 to 90 percent can
be helped to return to a normal life.
All of society has to be
concerned with this problem. We have to see it as something that can be
overcome and not give up our attempts to help. There are of course
different ways to do this, to give strength to those having
difficulties: Government, especially, has to increase society's safety
net, along with all of us pitching in, preparing ourselves to help those
facing stress by offering to do whatever is necessary to help those
who see life without hope to see it less pessimistically. And in the
religious world, we have to make it easier for people to express their
worries and problems, as well as being there for them with words of