Over the past decade of devastating recession and feeble recovery, there has been a sharp rise in suicides of men aged fifty and over — almost 50 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1999 to 2010, rates of suicide overall have gone up, but the steepest rise was for midlife men: those who used to be thought of as prime-age workers at the peak of their experience and ability. In that decade, the suicide rates for men aged fifty to fifty-four rose from 20.6 per 100,000 to 30.7 per 100,000.

Although thousands of individuals ended their lives in such terrible circumstances (6,733 men aged forty-five to forty-nine in 2010 alone), over the entire decade American media (including newspapers, magazines, and TV) reported only about thirty instances of the startling self-slaughter, plus sensational murder-suicides in which an unemployed person...

You do not currently have access to this content.