Teenage male suicide reached 14-16% in the Zuni Pueblo Indian Nation in the US.  The anthropologists who studied this believed the cause was that Indian boys could no longer do what traditional Indian boys were trained for, nor could they fit into the contemporary American consumer economic culture.  The result was alcoholism, depression, despair and suicide.  Zuni girls could still have children and homemaking so their lives had purpose.

I am told that the main cause of death among Irish teenage boys is suicide.  Could there be any parallel with the Zuni male teenagers?

With the changes in cultural controls and norms, Irish teenagers are falling in love and having intimate relationships at much earlier ages than previously.  Irish boys are not trained to recognise or respond creatively with their emotions.  They are deeply hurt when their intimacy is rejected, as most early relationships inevitably are.  This un-dealt-with pain can result in despair, a mental state of often unbearable suffering which seems to be eternal.

Irish males in the financial depression see no clear path to employment and self-sufficiency.  They also see mass emigration by young men older than themselves.

They cannot handle their suffering, nor think of getting help for it.

Could this, along with other life sources of pain explain this suicide epidemic?

In my US practice I would occasionally hear of teenage boys whose girlfriends had rejected them acting as if there was no problem in the morning — and hanging themselves in the afternoon.

 

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