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Society must not look away from suicide and depression.


Paint it Black

I see a red door and I want it painted black.  No colors anymore I want them to turn black.  I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes.  I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.

I see a line of cars and they're all painted black.  With flowers and my love both never to come back.  I see people turn their heads and quickly look away.  Like a new born baby it just happens every day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black.  I see my red door and must have it painted black.  Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts.  It's not easy facin' up when your whole world is black.

Songwriters: Jagger, Mick; Richards, Keith

Culture is a system by which a people exist or live.  It is the boundaries of social acceptance.  Some would even call culture the rulebook of a specific people.  Culture is a double-sided piece of tape.  One side tells a group, or even a subgroup (a group uniquely within another group), their way of life.  The other side is the record of the people.

The rule side of culture is strident.  It is strict.  All steps must be adhered to for the purpose of membership.  The record side will show how the rules were purposely, or naturally, changed until one culture dies, or becomes insignificant, and another raises up to replace it.

There are different aspects of a culture, which can give insight into these cultural changes.  And, there are many practices unique to a culture, which help to identify it.  For instance, the transition from the Big Band sound through the Do Wop of the 50’s until the prevailing music of the 60’s, which was the driving beat of Rock and Roll.  Popular music is one of the identity markers of a culture, or subculture.

We might speak of the prevailing culture of the United States. But each subculture prefers one kind of music to another.  But, this article is not about music.

Each group has it’s own cultural habits.  One age group enjoys certain sports.  These sports could be called extreme.  Other groups may have an overabundance of hunters.  This might be because of location.  No one would ever consider hunting deer in Manhattan.  These cultural practices could be called overt.  This label is because the participants knowingly enjoy hunting, NASCAR, skiing, or any other form of relaxation.

It would be impossible in this forum to enumerate every specific practice, which can be found in today’s modern culture and every subculture, which combine to identify the cultural practices of the United States.

On the other hand, there are benign cultural practices, habits almost.  These things that we do, or ignore to do, go just as far as overt practices to give a culture, or cultural group, it’s identity.  There are many of these also.

The attitude of this modern culture toward suicide and depression makes a disturbing comment about it and the way it interacts with others in its society circle.  Suicide and depression can be found in most subcultures across the United States.  Not one culture is immune.  A religious forbidding of taking one’s own life can cause the suicide rate in a particular group to be lower than that of others.  The same thing can be found concerning classical depression.  Many times calling it the ‘Blues’ plays it down.  It is the main ailment, which is targeted by drug companies in their advertising media blitzes. It is not a health problem to them, but a source o profit.  It is almost comical how they use stereotypical examples of people suffering from depression.  There is even an insurance company, which delivers a short parody of the therapist and patient.  The therapist is an ex-drill sergeant.  There we go poking fun at someone suffering from depression.

One would think that suicide would be an untouchable subject to poke fun at in modern culture.  It is not.  Whenever there is a financial hiccup in this society, the editorial pages of America become filled with cartoons poking fun at the financiers who are leaping out of windows.  The thought of villains ending their lives when surrounded become just another plot turn for some movie or TV production.  Suicide is not taken seriously.  Neither is depression.  It is a sign of weakness, or of faithlessness.

Did that last line surprise you?  Well, that is probably what you have heard from others, or maybe thought yourself.  Depression is for weak women or stupid wealthy people who have no other job, but to worry about their money.  No one takes this subject serious except for the comedy writers who put a shrink in most every episode.

Now back to suicide.  From Kevorkian to the love struck kids imitating Romeo and Juliet through those who are the failures of life, we ignore those who take their own lives.  When it is a friend, we may show concern for a moment.  When it is a loved one, we usually try to hide it in shame.

Nearly 30000 Americans take their own life each year.  It touches all classes of society.  There are no age groups immune to this tragedy.  Children, younger than ten years old have committed suicide. Even the strength found in the military cannot withstand the deadly pull of suicide.  By the middle of 2010, 65 Reservists and members of the National Guard have decided that there was no future in living. The only way to stop this is to become aware and care.

Nearly 18 million people suffer from some form of depression.  Of that number, nearly 12 million do not seek help.  What is the reason for this?  Well, real men do not get depressed.  While many Veterans and current Military members suffer from depression, they do not seek help because of the stigma of failure and weakness that will follow them around.  Men and women with a practice of faithful church attendance will sit in the congregation for years and suffer in silence.  They are afraid to be considered weak by their church family.  They may go for years suffering from no treatment, or never receive treatment because of pride.  But, it is never too late to swallow that pride and seek help.

Well, there it is.  This written effort has both been difficult and necessary.  Our society and culture, whichever part that we are members of, must face the facts about the mental health of ourselves and those around us.  Take a long look at our attitudes about these two subjects.  It just might save a life.  It might just help someone heal.  It is not a sign of weakness.  It is a step toward health.


  • andy addy 5 years ago

    enjoyed the article you made some very relevant observations.

  • Scott Knutson - Philly Mystical-Spirituality Exami 5 years ago

    Good work, Lloyd.

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