Author Ernest Hemingway killed himself in Ketchum, Idaho on this day in 1961, at age 61. Prior to his death, Hemingway explored the theme of suicide in his short stories and novels -- Hemingway's father had taken his own life at the age of 57.
So 52 years later, do we understand more about suicide than we did then?
In a new article journalist Tony Dokoupil writes about what he calls the "epidemic of suicide."
Suicide is not an economic problem or a generational tic. It's not a secondary concern, a sideline that will solve itself with new jobs, less access to guns, or a more tolerant society, although all would be welcome. It's a problem with a broad base and terrible momentum, a result of seismic changes in the way we live and a corresponding shift in the way we die - not only in America but around the world.
We know, thanks to a growing body of research on suicide and the conditions that accompany it, that more and more of us are living through a time of seamless black: a period of mounting clinical depression, blossoming thoughts of oblivion and an abiding wish to get there by the nonscenic route. Every year since 1999, more Americans have killed themselves than the year before, making suicide the nation's greatest untamed cause of death. In much of the world, it's among the only major threats to get significantly worse in this century than in the last.
The Daily Circuit will feature a conversation about why more Americans are killing themselves -- and one scientist's ideas for how to reverse this troubling trend.