Rising Suicide Rates Point to a Crisis in Meaning

Epigraph:

It is only in the remembrance of God that the hearts can find comfort. (Al Quran 13:28/29)

Source: Psychology Today

By Diane Dreher Ph.D. Your Personal Renaissance

Where can we find meaning today?

An alarming rise in depression and anxiety and a 30% rise in suicides since 1999 point to a major crisis in our culture (cdc & nimh links below). Too many Americans are anxious, depressed, and discontent because they lack a sense of meaning.  And as Viktor Frankl realized long ago, the sense of meaning can often mean the difference between life and death. Inspired by the desire to finish his book, Frankl survived the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp while he saw many other men fall sick and die, their immune systems weakened when they lost the will to live (Frankl, 1946/1984; see also Cresswell et al, 2005).

Where do we find meaning today? One way is to discover our life’s calling, a concept often overlooked in today’s culture with its emphasis on fame and financial success. As a college professor, I’ve seen too many students pressured by their parents to major in subjects for which they have no interest or aptitude, because they want their children to be successful, to get “good jobs.”  But without a sense of meaning, external success can be empty, leading to desolation and despair.

Yet too many of us have no idea of what a calling is. I recall one class when my students were confused by a Milton sonnet about vocation.  “A vocation is your calling, your life’s work,” I explained.  “Can you think of an example of someone with a calling today?”

Silence. The students shifted uneasily in their chairs. I rephrased my question: “What do you want to do with your life?”  More silence. Struggling to make a connection, I asked why they had come to college. They said they wanted to buy a new car, to make a good income, to live as well as their parents.

Finally I asked, “Beyond making money, don’t you have a deeper reason for your work?”

Read further

Suggested reading

The science is in: God is the answer

A Historic Video Debate: Does the Universe have a purpose, why were the Muslims excluded?

If the Atheists and the Christians Debate, Islam Wins!

‘Doctor’s Orders: 20 Minutes of Meditation Twice a Day’ – How about 10 Minutes 5 Times a Day?

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Categories: The Muslim Times

1 reply

  1. In the news we have been seeing a major rise in suicide rates. In most cases we see that the people who are committing suicide are seen as happy people. They’re friends and family members are commenting how happy and what a active person they were in life. But, with suicide rates on the rise this only means that these people were not in tune with themselves and didn’t have a peace of mind. May Allah help these people with their mental issues and May Allah guide them towards himself.

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