Thursday, 7 June 2012

What you can learn from the wave of suicides in Europe (Part 2 of 6)

A wide network of social agencies, charities and churches provides help to those who are going through hard times. Support is available to those who need a warm meal and a place to sleep. 

Although most people will find demeaning having to beg for help, the fact is that such help can be obtained if the situation becomes real bad.

The suicide statistics are even more difficult to fathom if we compare the living conditions in Europe with those in sub-Saharan Africa, where thousands of people suffer from extreme poverty and hunger. 

Paradoxically, those who risk starvation in Africa rarely commit suicide, an idea that they would find surely inconceivable if their standard of living was raised to the level of the poorest Europeans.

A closer look to the wave of suicides in Europe can teach us some important lessons about the pursuit of happiness. Contrary to what is reported by the media, poverty is not the real reason behind the increased number of suicides in Europe. 

As it is clearly demonstrated by history, people do not kill themselves just because they are poor. Through the centuries, millions of human beings have lived in dire poverty in many parts of the world and suicide has remained a rare event.

Lack of money seldom deprives individuals of their will to live. In many cases, poverty has been known to energize men to work hard and turn their lives around. 

To say that people tend to kill themselves when they lose their jobs is as inexact as saying that people tend to drink hot soup when they are sick. Some do, and some don't, but there is insufficient evidence to establish a link of causality.

If the reasons for the increased number of suicides are not purely economic, then what are they? The reactions to the death of Giovanni Schiavone give us a clue to the answer, when we learn that he had never expected things to become so bad.
To be continued in the next post


[Image by xiquinhosilva under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]