Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Well I think teen suicide is caused by capitalism

I have had enough of Garry Evans. Is there any way we can revoke his coroners licence? If he wants to prattle on about things he knows nothing about he should get a blog.

This appeared in today's paper:

Teenagers could be resorting to suicide because an over-protective society and parents have shielded them from life's problems, Wellington's coroner says.

There was a disturbing trend of teenagers as young as 14 and 15 committing suicide after breaking up with their boyfriend or girlfriend, Garry Evans said.
No mention of depression, of course, what would that have to do with suicide? He's a lawyer and a coroner, not a psychologist. But if he can diagnose the problems with midwife education by studying two births, then surely there's nothing he doesn't know everything about.

I've restrained for ranting about him before, because I've heard in union circles that he's actually a reasonably good guy - I know people who have been represented by him. I stopped caring about the time I noticed that the people who he condemns are always women. Whether it's midwives or mothers (and overprotective parents is just a coded way of attacking mothers), he obviously wants us in our place. I think I'm going to use him to wean me off Wayne Mapp.

The union movement is hardly a bastion of progressiveness towards women generally (conversation round the office recently Me: "So these union people you keep mentioning who stab their wives, is this just one person who comes up again and again?" Older and Wiser colleague: "Not so much")


  1. Anonymous3:10 pm

    As a young lawyer Gary Evans did work really hard for organised workers, including the union I used to be in. A couple of years ago he stopped off at the cenotaph anti war vigil a couple of times and rather furtively told me he thought we were doing a good job.
    I didn't read his midwife opinions but they sound daft. I think there does need to be more education and debate about the frightful phenomenum of youth suicide; I too suspect capitalism of being to blame, but there's a bit of detail needs filling in to join up the dots.

  2. Simply saying that a "system" is to blame, doesn't explain why suicide is rampant in some countries but not others. Is it the reason it has always been common in Japan? It was rampant in Hungary until comparatively recently as well. It is almost insulting to say to anyone who has attempted suicide (with the intent that it succeed) that it is capitalism to blame - not the abusive parent, the fear of what others will think, the loss and hopelessness at the end of a relationship, or the psychosis due to misuse of drugs.

    It IS depression and isolation, but since most young people killing themselves do so because of relationships with family and friends suggests that the political/economic system has nothing to do with it.

    The end to bullying and abuse of people due to their sexuality would make a difference, as would encouragement of self esteem and independence, rather than reliance on identity and esteem from what other's think.

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  4. I felt that Evans' comments also reinforced the stereotype that it is young white people from priviledged backgrounds (the OCers if you will) who attempt or commit suicide. Which I didn't find helpful.

  5. Tenor Horn: Yes that's basically what I've heard -

    LibertyScott. I probably need to be clearer about my intentions with my posts. The reason I choose that title was to compare my random unsubstantiated theory about the causes of suicide with Gary Evans's.

    To articulate my analysis more fully: I believe that the cause of suicide is depression, and that it's really important we acknowledge that depression is a real and dehabilitating disease.

    If we want to lower the suicide rate we should look at the causes of depression, how we treat depression in our society, and what causes some depressed people to commit suicide and others not to (I think capitalism comes in quite a bit here).

    To say that the problem is that young people aren't taught to cope with break-ups seems to me to reinforce the idea that depression isn't real.

  6. Fair enough point too. I thought Gary Evans was overgeneralising, he has also done so when commenting on another issue I am familiar with. I would disagree that capitalism, as a whole is to blame (as you'd expect me to), but I think there is a culture of instant material gratification and obtaining esteem from others recognising what you own that contributes to youth suicide. "You are what you own" contributes to depression among those who own very little.

    How to deal with that IS the question.