There was a time when lawyers were the ones known for their above-average rates of suicide. Not too long ago, there had been a cluster of them among middle aged attorneys in Kentucky. That was then.
Now the suicide watch has shifted to financial professionals. There has been a recent rash of suicides among "Wall Street" types in the U.S., the U.K. and Asia. The preferred current mode is jumping from a height. Here is one analysis of the phenomenon in Business Insider.
Simultaneously Kevin Roose has published a book profiling very unhappy young players on Wall Street. It's called "Young Money, Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post Crash Recruits." Roose followed newbies from their initial euphoric days to their disappointment to their rock-hard unhappiness. The causes, according to Roose, include the 100-hour weeks, less money in the game, shorter shelf life for careers and deep-seated fear.
But when does that internal negative state became dark enough to trigger suicide among some of the most well-educated, motivated and tireless professionals on planet earth? There's plenty of speculation.
For example, it's more difficult to make the big money and the game is all about money. No one goes to Wall Street to make a difference. Another factor, it's posited, is that it is all too easy to lose one's job which is one's identity. The angst associated with that possible loss could be more soul-wrenching than actually being cut from the team. Also, there is no safety valve for regulating and managing the stress. At least not a healthy one. Soon enough drugs, booze and sex become in themselves toxic. It is well known that substance abuse frequently results in suicide.
But those are just theories, any lawyer would argue. No suicide has come back and testified about the casual agents. And even if he or she had, why would we accept that reconstruction of events which took place when the person was in the gripes of some kind of aberrant mental state.
The reality is that science knows so little about what final line of thinking or lack of rational thought precipitates that irreversible act. Many books have been written, including "Night Falls Fast" by Kay Redfield Jamison, who had herself attempted suicide. Here is more information about the book on Amazon.com.
Those of us in 12-step programs might have the most insight on suicide and even that isn't much. A financial professional in insurance ate a bullet in central Connecticut. Even the most arrogant members of the group admit they really don't know why. My hunch has been that suicide is homicide. He intended to hurt his ex-wife who was squeezing him for alimony. But I have not shared that with the group. Suicide might just be one of the sub-mysteries within the larger mystery of Life itself.