Recession's wake finds more youth suicide and others putting life on hold

Dave Masko's picture

If you don’t want to get really depressed, don’t go online to the Pew Research Center’s website and read how the so-called “Great Recession” has changed America and impacted everyone’s health because you’ll note more youth committing suicide; while also putting their lives on hold due to fear they don’t have enough money.

In addition to a new “recession era” form of suicide using cheap chemicals found in one’s cleaning closet, the Pew Research experts point to a growing trend of youth suicides due to the harsh realities of “real life” over the virtual world that many young people cling to as an escape from the recession and other “buzz kills” in their day-to-day existence. The recent Pew Research Center survey also noted how more than 70 percent of Americans say their buying less due to the recession, with nearly 60 percent noting they’ve “eliminated vacations” that are a popular American family tradition during the summer months. In general, the Pew Research found the recession's legacy -- thus far since 2008 -- to be one where many Americans are simply hunkering down -- especially youth -- and trying to push away their problems in hopes that money will start flowing again, and then return their concept of happiness.

Pew Research points to recession triggering health concerns in America

The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C., that states it “provides information on issues, attitudes and trends” that are now shaping America. Pew also stated how its research about the recession’s impact on Americans is now viewed as a national health concern via the sharp rise in suicides and other recession related health woes.

Pew Research is a popular source for college student conducting research here at the University of Oregon, and other colleges and universities across the country where Pew studies can be accessed free online at

“The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan ‘fact tank’ that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does so by conducting public opinion polling and social science research; by analyzing news coverage; and by holding forums and briefings. It does not take positions on policy issues,” states the Pew Research website.

Hollywood style chemical suicide is has become a recession favorite among disenchanted youth

The suicide of a young woman in the Hollywood Hills might have seemed just another sad Tinseltown story but for large notes plastered on the window of the car in which she died: ‘Danger! Chemicals Inside! Call 911,’” stated a recent AP report from Los Angeles.

“Police and coroner's investigators had seen this before — three or four times in the past year — and they knew the danger was real to them and the neighborhood. Had the chemical cloud escaped from the car with people nearby, many others could have died, according to authorities. An evacuation of residents was contemplated but never carried out. Equally troubling was the fact that directions for the chemical suicide method, first publicized in Japan, were obtained from an easily accessible website through which the woman formed a suicide pact with a stranger who backed out at the last minute,” the AP reported June 19.

Police Detective Kevin Becker told the AP that “a 23-year-old Ana Gutierrez, an unemployed resident of suburban Culver City, had formed an online friendship with the man in a suicide chat room.”

"She had financial problems and couldn't find work. Both of them had some issues and they decided it was time to go," Becker said.

From information provided by the man, whom Becker refused to identify, the AP report went on to state that “the two decided to use a method described on the suicide site. It involved mixing chemicals into a toxic brew that when released would kill anyone in the vicinity instantly.”

"I've seen plenty of suicides but not like this," said Becker

Pew Research points to a recession that’s shaking up America more than people realize

One of the pressures youth are having today in America is they’re more or less broke when their family doesn’t cover their expenses. For instance, Pew Research points to nearly 30 percent of American youth borrowing money from family or friends.

Pew Research in both 2010 and early 2011 also noted that those youth who did not complete high school had a “jobless rate that was 50 percent higher than average workers.” Also, more than one fifth of workers age 16 -24 were “unemployed at the end of 2009,” when the recession was in full force.

Another trend identified by Pew Research experts is that many youth groups have “been hardest hit by the recession,” and they are high school, college and black youth.

Also, research finds many youth have decided to postpone both marriage and having children, while more than 10 percent have moved back home and are now living off their parents.

“I think it’s really done our son’s head in when he had to drop out of school and move back home,” says Walt whose son Steven had to drop out of the University of Oregon here in Eugene after the recession gutted the family's funding to help pay for Steven’s education.

In the meantime, Walt says Steven is “like most youth these days who just shut themselves in their room with the computer, and live their lives online in some weird way.”

Image source of a painting of the English romantic poet Thomas Chatterton, who at a young age is believed to have killed himself with chemicals back in 1770: Wikipedia

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