Suicide Is the Third Leading Health Issue of Generation Y in America
People who have the highest risk of suicide are white men. At the same time, women and teens report more suicide attempts.— Medline, American Medical Association
Why Do People Commit Suicide?
Suicide Prevention Week includes Suicide Prevention Day on September 10. Remember that:
- Suicide is on the increase in America.
- Suicide is only one result of bullying.
Work, War or WiFi?
Third Leading Cause of Death
Various economic magazines and business analysts have estimated that 75% of the working population of America, and probably Canada, will be individuals in Generation Y by 2025. Following classic 20-year generation cohorts, these are people born from 1984 - 2005, although definitions wander up and down the years between 1980 and 2005, some being only 10-year cohorts. It is not understood why such a diversity of definitions exists.
In the year 2025, these potential workers of Gen Y will be ages 20 to 41. How many of them will still be alive? Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Gen Y, according to the CDC:
QUOTE: “America loses approximately 100 Americans every 24 hours from suicide,” said Pamela Hyde, administrator of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration...Among people 18 to 24, suicide is now the third leading cause of death, officials said."
According to statistics complied by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in America, the top causes of death among men and women ages 15 - 24 and 25 - 44 are listed below and in the case of the younger cohort, mostly violent causes:
- Ages 15 -24: Accidents, homicide, suicide, malignancies, heart disease.
- Ages 25 - 44: Accidents, malignancies, heart disease, suicide, homicide. Analysts feel that the violent deaths most often affect the lower end of this age rank.
News reports on ABC, NBC, and CBS on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy in the US reported that during the summer of 2012, suicides among US military personnel and those recently returned from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan had reached a rate of 1 every day, or 365 per year. Many of these suicides occur among personnel of Generation Y.
Further, the American Medical Association's MedLine reports:
QUOTE: People who have the highest risk of suicide are white men. At the same time, women and teens report more suicide attempts.
Alleged Characteristics of Gen Y or the Millennials
Looking at the headlines concerning this generation at the end of 2012 gives us some enlightenment about the Millennials:
- Generation Y: Looking for jobs — and an identity By Alexandra Thomas at HLNTV. Main points: "1) Unemployment rate among people aged 20-24 is 13.5% in September 2012; 2) The identity of Gen Y is still a bit of a mystery. "Gen Y is often said to be spoiled, impatient, and "entitled", more so than any other generation. (Note: These individuals have grown up with technology and constant communication with friends via, texting, email, SmartPhones, iPads, etc. and there may be a genetic basis in Internet Addiction among them. They are much more inclined to ask employers in job interviews with the company can do for them, rather than what they can do for the company. However, they are big on volunteerism overall.)
- Gen Y most likely to hold low-paying jobs in retail. Hadley Malcolm says in USA Today: "The most common jobs held by Gen Y are merchandise display-person and sales representative, which they are about five times more likely to hold vs. all workers."
- Is Generation Y Underemployed Or Just Lazy? By Kelly Clay, Forbes. " According to a recent study by Cisco, more than half of Gen Y workers “will not accept a job that bans social media...consider the Internet to be as important as air, water, food, and shelter and will choose a lower paying job in order to be able to use it."
- Is Home Ownership Dead for 20-Somethings? - Today's generation is shunning the American dream of past ones By Ethan Roberts, InvestorPlace Contributor
- The Cheapest Generation? Why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy. By Derek Thompson and Jordan Weissmann in The Atlantic. (Millenials on average would rather have a SmartPhone than a car, if they need to choose.)
- Gen Z and Y prefer Debit to Credit By Business with the Wall Street Journal in Australia
- Is Gen Y responsible for elevated network risk? By Charlie Osborne for iGeneration. QUOTE: Eight in ten professionals, out of 1,500 surveyed at the TechEd North America and TechEd Europe conferences, said that Generation Y were an obstacle in reducing application privileges for the sake of security. Within the age bracket, "young male staff between the ages of 20 and 35" were considered the biggest obstacle, and most likely to demand elevated administrator rights. Almost 40 percent said they has experienced at least one malware incident due to an unapproved application being downloaded by staff.
- The Boom In Suicides - Government Addresses Suicides Without Looking at Suicide-Linked Drugs By Martha Rosenburg for CounterPunch.org.
Gen -Y at Work
Trophies and "Looking for jobs — and an identity" By Alexandra Thomas
Some analysts point out that Generation Y was the first generation to begin receiving awards across the board for everything and just for showing up to school. Some of these people have not been able to handle reasonable real-life job expectations and college requirements or the negative consequences for not meeting them --
Does this lead to increased suicide among them? Perhaps it does in some measure. However, bullying in childhood and youth - including cyber-bullying in the first Internet-savvy generation - has been responsible for increasing numbers of suicides. Bullying does not end at a certain age threshold, but is present in all age groups from preschool to old age home, as I found in studies my university group did in the mid-1990s, even before the Internet and current TV/film/gaming violence were widely accessible.
In the 2010s, war and military service make another contributor so suicide among Gen Y. All of these negative experiences taken together might result in increasing percentages of suicides annually. Substance abuse might be another contributor.
Identity and Skills
An identity crisis may lead to thoughts of suicide, as does the lack of a job, especially if one gains one's identity from the work (e.g., the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers, especially men).
Generation Y has been hit hard with encouragement to study STEM courses (sciences, technologies, engineering, maths) and pursue math and science careers. Their Top 10 Highest Demand Jobs (see below) are largely in Engineering. They may be studying for degrees that they cannot use. Although the Aerospace Industry is growing, a proliferation of related new jobs will not occur until around 2014-2015 or later. What will all these engineers do until then?
Alexandra Thomas found that the Millennials, more than any previous generation, study Chinese and entrepreneurial studies, neuroscience, bioengineering, sports management, and digital media studies, while more also earn MBA degrees. Still, more men go into engineering than women. Simultaneously, funding cuts have hit the Nursing Programs around the USA, accessed more often by women than men. It looks like more Gen Y women will be more under- or unemployed than Gen Y men.
What is Generation Y really doing for work in the 2010s? --
According to Ms.Thomas's findings, Gen Y people are largely:
- Computer Maintenance/Repair Techs
- Display Merchandisers in Retail and Grocery, etc.
- Retail Salespeople - Clothing and Cellular Phones.
Working in a job one considers below one's level of talents can be depressing. Working in a job in which one is skilled but hates leads to the worse burnout possible (I've been there).
Are the Media-Proposed Reasons For Suicide Among Gen Y Reasonable?
- Suicides resulting from the inability to find and/or keep a high paying job for which Gen Y members trained. Portions of Gen Y are delaying purchasing homes and automobiles, as well as delaying marriage and children, because of lack of income. Some are moving home with parents of Gen X and the Boomers, which has become a frequent joke on late night talk shows. High levels of education and plus low paying jobs might become a depressing combination.
- Suicides because of Internet Addiction and withdrawal syndrome after losing connectivity as a result of income decline. This would be worst perhaps in cases where the user depended on the Internet and a Smartphone for producing a livelihood.
- Suicides of twenty-somethings, especially in the US military, under the influence of drugs whose side effects include suicidal thoughts and actions. Depression and confusion about what has happened during recent wars and life afterward on an individual experience level, plus the overuse of prescription drugs to control adverse psychological results in the field, make #3 a reasonable cause for suicide.
Top 10 High Demand, High Pay Jobs for Gen Y in 2013 - 2018 By PayScale.com
Jobs ranked by PayScale.com highest to lowest Annual Median Pay:
- Petroleum Engineer - $98,100
- Senior Software Engineer - $80,600
- Account Director - $76,200 (Large accounts with large sales.)
- IT Program Manager - $75,100
- Sales Director - $74,600
- Technical Architect - $73,000
- Quantitative Analyst - $72,800
- Hardware Design Engineer - $72,700
- Mining Engineer - $71,900
- Software Product Manager - $71,800
Most of these jobs are involved in Technologies and Sales.
MAYO CLINIC - How to Recognize and Address Suicide
- Suicide and suicidal thoughts - MayoClinic.com
Suicide and suicidal thoughts — Comprehensive overview covers warning signs, causes, risks and treatment.
Dealing With Potential Suicide
This article is not meant to be a diagnosis or treatment; if you or someone you know in North America seems to exhibit suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) in the USA and the Suicide or Crisis Hotline (1-800-448-3000) in Canada.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Patty Inglish MS