AuthorTopic: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload  (Read 812 times)

Offline K-Dog

  • Administrator
  • Sous Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 2022
    • View Profile
    • K-Dog
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2017, 04:54:36 AM »
In my last stint at unemployment I worked landscaping for a cousin one day a week.  He was able to pay me $20.00 an hour and it was not charity.  He pays the same to other people for the same work.  He bills at a high enough rate to pay his employee's somewhat decently.  This was for ground maintenance at a waterfront Seattle mansion.

Lucid, if you can't up your billing rate to pay an employee more you really don't have a job to offer.  Perhaps you need to raise your rates?

KD, you live in San Francisco, CA.  LD lives in Boiling Springs, SC.  Totally different economy.  If he raised his rates very much, then another landscaper would undercut his prices.

You are correct though that until he can offer a better rate of pay, he doesn't really have a job to offer.

RE

No I'm in Seattle.  Your typing fingers forgot because from where you are it is in the same direction.  That's what happens when you do 20000 words a day.

Landscapers here can make bank if they are professional and work hard.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 04:59:00 AM by K-Dog »

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28529
    • View Profile
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2017, 06:59:13 AM »
In my last stint at unemployment I worked landscaping for a cousin one day a week.  He was able to pay me $20.00 an hour and it was not charity.  He pays the same to other people for the same work.  He bills at a high enough rate to pay his employee's somewhat decently.  This was for ground maintenance at a waterfront Seattle mansion.

Lucid, if you can't up your billing rate to pay an employee more you really don't have a job to offer.  Perhaps you need to raise your rates?

KD, you live in San Francisco, CA.  LD lives in Boiling Springs, SC.  Totally different economy.  If he raised his rates very much, then another landscaper would undercut his prices.

You are correct though that until he can offer a better rate of pay, he doesn't really have a job to offer.

RE

No I'm in Seattle.  Your typing fingers forgot because from where you are it is in the same direction.  That's what happens when you do 20000 words a day.

Landscapers here can make bank if they are professional and work hard.

I knew it started with an S.  lol.

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline luciddreams

  • Administrator
  • Sous Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 3200
    • View Profile
    • Epiphany Now
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2017, 08:18:45 AM »

Landscapers here can make bank if they are professional and work hard.

Hey KD, I do make bank!  I bill $50 per hour for just me.  The convention for a landscape business is $60 per hour, at least around here.  $1 per minute is the goal.  I've done a lot of thinking about this. Now, $60 per hour is for a professional business with professional grade equipment.  It's also the number you need to be making to run with a crew of at least 2.  That is three people working at the landscape, and three people can get a LOT more work done then 1 can.  Now I'm a very hard, efficient, and quick worker.  I don't lolligag or even take breaks beyond sucking down water to stay hydrated.  I show up, I get out of the rig, and I work until the job is done.  I could easily beat a crew of 2 people who were not very hard working and only making $10 per hour. 

If it takes me an hour to do a yard then I would be able to do it in 45 minutes with help.  Mowing the grass is what takes the longest, usually.  On most yards the edging/weed eating and blowing takes about 15 minutes.  I don't really need help with mowing, edging, blowing because it's not worth paying somebody $10 per hour all day to save me a few hours of work each day.  It's nice to have help though.  On top of the help however I also take on becoming a boss.  That is a pain in the ass.  I hate having to baby sit.  I can rely on my own competence and smarts.  When somebody else is working for me then all of a sudden I have to worry about equipment abuse, general incompetence, rocks going through windows, and paying somebody to stand around with their thumb up their ass. 

Where help really makes a difference is with restoration jobs, shrubbery jobs, and mulch jobs.  It especially helps with mulch.  I charge $15 per cubic yard for mulch, which is in the middle of what people charge around here.  You can find jack legs that will do it for $10 (sometimes even less) and then the big dogs will charge up to $20.  I can put out 3 to 4 yards of mulch per hour by myself depending on the job site.  On jobs like that I love to hire help.  In this case somebody shows up at the work site and we work until the job is done, and I'm happy to pay $10 per hour, and more.  Big shrubbery jobs I'd pay $15 per hour for somebody experienced.  It's easy to fuck up a shrubbery job if you don't know what you are doing, and then it will be noticeable and look like shit for all to see for months.  This can be very bad for your reputation in a neighborhood. 

For me, on the yard maintenance side of things, I'm not going to hire help if I can get away with it.  I do a lot more than just yard maintenance though, and that's my pickle.  I'm working on a permaculture design and implementation job now, and I'd love help with that.  Any bamboo jobs I get I would need help.  Then the restoration, mulch, shrubbery jobs I need help.  At this point my plan is to rely on high school help.  I have one high schooler already.  He's got friends.  $8 per hour is better then then can make working anywhere else, and then they pay taxes.  I pay in cash.  They are inexperienced mostly, but that is fine with me because I can train them to do as I do.  This helps keep bad habits down but it takes more of my time. 


Offline luciddreams

  • Administrator
  • Sous Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 3200
    • View Profile
    • Epiphany Now
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2017, 08:24:49 AM »
In my last stint at unemployment I worked landscaping for a cousin one day a week.  He was able to pay me $20.00 an hour and it was not charity.  He pays the same to other people for the same work.  He bills at a high enough rate to pay his employee's somewhat decently.  This was for ground maintenance at a waterfront Seattle mansion.

Lucid, if you can't up your billing rate to pay an employee more you really don't have a job to offer.  Perhaps you need to raise your rates?

"Waterfront Seattle mansion," says it all my man.  Yes, you can make big money in landscaping.  It's all about the clients.  I learned this quickly, and it really goes a long way to explain the landscapers that make it and those that don't.  I've been told that landscaping businesses are in the top 5 businesses that go out of business within the first 5 years.  Apparently you either make it or break it as a business at year 5.  If you make it to year 5 then you will likely continue on, but if you don't then it's game over. 

It's all about the clients.  Most of my clients are doctors, educators, and other professionals.  I have a healthy geriatric client base as well, but they make up maybe 20% of my business.  The trick is to land wealthy clients because money is not an issue.  Once you prove yourself to them you can pretty much write the check and they'll pay whatever.  I guess they don't mind paying more because they are happy with your work and it's one less thing they have to worry about.  It's nice to trust the business that's taking care of your home landscape while you are away.  Most times the home owners are not home when I show up to take care of their landscape. 

Anyways, at $50 per hour for just me, I'm doing pretty damn good for landscaping in the south.  You can only charge so much for this work.  I raise my rates any and I won't be competitive any longer. 
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 08:28:55 AM by luciddreams »

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28529
    • View Profile
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2017, 08:50:55 AM »
If you are charging $50/hr and 1 helper allows you to do 1.5X as many jobs in a day, that is the equivalent of $75/hr.  You can then pay the helper $15/hr and be making $60/hr.

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28529
    • View Profile
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2017, 08:55:00 AM »
If you are charging $50/hr and 1 helper allows you to do 1.5X as many jobs in a day, that is the equivalent of $75/hr.  You can then pay the helper $15/hr and be making $60/hr.

RE

If the helper was Roamer, he can work just as hard and fast as you I am pretty sure. So then you double the income to $100/hr, you can afford to pay Roamer $25/hr and keep $75/hr.

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline Eddie

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 12205
    • View Profile
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2017, 09:00:01 AM »
The main reason NOT to take on employees is not because they aren't productive...it's because as soon as you hire the first employee you become a much bigger target for the tax people.

 You can work for cash yourself your entire life and not necessarily get busted for taxes, but if you hire help, sooner or later some disgruntled ex-employee will rat you out to the labor board, and they'll send a man down to look at your records.

For a fly-by-night operator that means a big fine, usually, and seizure of your assets. You're out of business, just like that. Happens all the time. It's one reason why illegals are an attractive hire. They don't turn employers in. American born people, especially minorities working for a white boss, will happily fuck you up in this way, so be careful.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 8863
    • View Profile
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2017, 09:39:01 AM »
I don't understand why you have to "hire" a helper. Just bid the job, and tell them 2 people will be doing the work ( whenever you need them ). Make an agreement with your helper to pay him/her so much an hour, and then go for it. We are in the housecleaning business, and what you ( LD ) describe is pretty much how the housecleaning goes. Get a bunch of doctors, lawyers, professors, ...etc. that are willing to pay a lot for your work. We have about 20% of our clients that are old, or sickly so we do not charge them much. Both of these manual labor jobs are similar because a lot of undocumented people find these jobs pretty easily. Just know who you are making the agreement with to help you. We have done it this way for about 24 years. I have made up to $90 an hour, in a house where two married lawyers lived, and did so for about 8 years. Sometimes I had two monks help me. If you all set up the SUN non-profit status as an income sharing community, and keep your collective earnings below the poverty level ( Gross made that year divided by the number of members, you do not have to pay State of Federal income tax.
  Even before the Sun is incorporated you can still do it this way, I hired probably 4 people to help them get started in the business ( making sure their net pay doesn't go over the poverty line), so they could get their own jobs, with me as a reference. We have never heard from the IRS in over thirty years.
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28529
    • View Profile
Re: Middle Age White People Dying by the Truckload
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2017, 09:47:44 AM »
  Even before the Sun is incorporated you can still do it this way

SUN is already a legally incorporated 501c3 Non-Profit Corporation.

However, LD is not running his bizness under the auspices of SUN, he is running it currently as a Sole Proprietorship under the name Ancient Earth Landscaping.  He is considering incorporating it as an LLC.

We have not discussed subsuming AEL into SUN.  It does have possibilities though.

I definitely agree with Eddie paying people off the books is not a good idea overall.

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28529
    • View Profile
Americans are more distressed than ever
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2017, 12:09:14 AM »
Nothing a few Fukitol Pills won't cure.

RE

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/americans-distressed-study-article-1.3064953

Americans are more distressed than ever: study 


Americans suffering from serious psychological distress is at an all-time high. (Marjan_Apostolovic/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
BY
Joe Dziemianowicz
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, April 17, 2017, 9:56 PM

In the U.S., misery has company.

More Americans than ever have serious psychological distress, according to a new study from NYU Langone Medical Center.

Researchers analyzed Centers for Disease Control data and concluded that 3.4% of the adult U.S. population — more than 8.3 million — suffer from serious psychological distress, known as SPD.

The condition combines feelings of sadness, worthlessness and restlessness hazardous enough to impair an individual's well-being. SPD was previously estimated to be 3% or less of the population.

Findings, published in the journal Psychiatric Services, are based on the National Health Interview Survey.

More than 35,000 U.S. households, involving more than 200,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 64, were included. Subjects were in all states and across all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, participate in the yearly survey.

"Based on our data, we estimate that millions of Americans have a level of emotional functioning that leads to lower quality of life and life expectancy," said lead study investigator Judith Weissman, Ph.D. a research manager in the NYU's department of medicine.

"Our study may also help explain why the U.S. suicide rate is up to 43,000 people each year," she added.

The study also revealed that access to health care services deteriorated for people suffering from SPD.

"Although our analysis does not give concrete reasons why mental health services are diminishing," said Weissman, "it could be from shortages in professional help, increased costs of care not covered by insurance, the great recession, and other reasons worthy of further investigation."
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28529
    • View Profile
Financial despair, addiction and the rise of suicide in white America
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2017, 12:18:52 AM »
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/07/suicide-rates-rise-butte-montana-princeton-study

Financial despair, addiction and the rise of suicide in white America


The death rate for white Americans aged 45 to 54 has risen sharply since 1999, but Montana officials wrestle to explain why the state has the highest rate of suicide in the US at nearly twice the national average – and it’s rising
Butte, Montana
Local officials in Butte, Montana, see the Princeton study’s findings reflected in their community but struggle to explain them. Photograph: Alamy


Chris McGreal in Butte, Montana

Sunday 7 February 2016 08.28 EST
Last modified on Thursday 25 May 2017 04.59 EDT

Kevin Lowney lies awake some nights wondering if he should kill himself.

“I am in such pain every night, suicide has on a regular basis crossed my mind just simply to ease the pain. If I did not have responsibilities, especially for my youngest daughter who has problems,” he said.

The 56-year-old former salesman’s struggle with chronic pain is bound up with an array of other issues – medical debts, impoverishment and the prospect of a bleak retirement – contributing to growing numbers of suicides in the US and helping drive a sharp and unusual increase in the mortality rate for middle-aged white Americans in recent years alongside premature deaths from alcohol and drugs.

A study released late last year by two Princeton academics, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, who won the 2014 Nobel prize for economics, revealed that the death rate for white Americans aged 45 to 54 has risen sharply since 1999 after declining for decades. The increase, by 20% over the 14 years to 2013, represents about half a million lives cut short.
The Guardian view on American mortality: the price of a ruthless economy
Editorial: What can explain the rise in deaths by self-harm among middle-aged white Americans?
Read more

The uptick in the mortality rate is unique to that age and racial group. Death rates for African Americans of a similar age remain notably higher but continue to fall.

Neither was the increase seen in other developed countries. In the UK, the mortality rate for middle-aged people dropped by one third over the same period.

“This change reversed decades of progress in mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country saw a similar turnaround,” the study said.

Deaths from poisonings by drugs or alcohol have risen dramatically to push lung cancer into second place as the major killer with a sharp increase in suicides now a close third.


Kevin Lowney


‘I was a very hard-working American. Overly hard-working American. This is what brought down my health,’ Kevin Lowney said. Photograph: Walter Hinick for the Guardian

Lowney lives in Butte, Montana, where local officials see the Princeton study’s findings reflected in their community but struggle to explain them. The state has the highest rate of suicide in the US at nearly twice the national average and rising – up 7.3% in 2014. Those most likely to kill themselves are 45 to 65 years old.
Advertisement

“What’s been lacking in our town is an explanation for why this demographic in particular has been dying by suicide,” said Karen Sullivan, health director for Butte and the surrounding county, Silver Bow. “We want to take a look at what we’ve got going on in Butte. Is it economic in nature? Is it middle-aged white people discontented with where they landed in life? Is it isolation? A lack of a social network? Is it drug and alcohol issues? What do we have going on?”

Other officials see a number of interconnected forces at work and the rising rate of middle-aged deaths as indicative of crisis wider than those who kill themselves.

Growing economic inequality and increasing financial struggles are intertwined with other issues such as health and addiction. Some people living on low incomes hesitate to go to the doctor even if they have medical insurance because of the cost of out-of-pocket expenses. Chronic conditions can go untreated and become debilitating.

Pain is a driver of alcohol abuse and addiction to opioid painkillers, which in turn is feeding a growing heroin epidemic in the US. Stress and mental health issues are sometimes driven by constant worries about money and fear for the future as growing numbers of Americans look into a financial abyss at retirement.
What has changed?
Business Today: sign up for a morning shot of financial news
Read more

Karl Rosston, Montana’s suicide prevention coordinator, said there are a number of constants that contribute to a historically high suicide rate throughout the Rocky Mountain region from social isolation to the availability of guns and a reluctance to seek mental health care.

But all of those are longstanding issues in Montana. So what’s changed to drive up the rate of people taking their own lives in recent years?

“Probably the biggest reason is socio-economic. We have about 150,000 people in our state that don’t have access to any type of healthcare, which is a major issue. We have a lot of people living in poverty. Wages are not going up at the same pace as rising health costs, rising cost of living and inflation,” Rosston said.

“Definitely you see a lot of people that all of a sudden they hit 45 or 50 and they don’t see retirement as a bonus. They see something that they’re going to have struggle with and they’re not going to be able to retire.”

Sullivan sees that as tied up with “the expectation that as a middle-aged white person you would outdo your parents economically and socially, and that didn’t occur”.

Lowney is typical of those baby boomers who have seen expectations dashed. His grandfather immigrated from Ireland to work as a miner when Butte was renowned as “the richest hill on earth” for the copper beneath. His father, Jerry, was raised in impoverished conditions but by the 1950s had moved up the social scale working as a civil engineer in a Butte hospital. He owned a house and a car. He had eight children, of which Kevin was the youngest, and retired on a comfortable pension without debt.

    I’m a very strong Catholic and I practice those values. No way is this from any immorality on my part
    Kevin Lowney

Kevin Lowney has not been so fortunate. He has never owned a house and is drowning in medical debt attributed to hospital costs and doctors office visits to treat his failing health.

“I was a very hard-working American. Overly hard-working American. This is what brought down my health,” he said.

Lowney studied to be a mining engineer but Butte’s copper mines shut down in the 1980s, taking with them well paid union jobs. The mine was bought out and reopened a few years but with a smaller, non-unionised workforce on an income dependent on the price of copper. By then Lowney had switched to a business degree and landed a job in California as a salesman for a food delivery company.

Lowney returned to Butte in 2002 and went to work for Walmart as a cashier. His health continued to deteriorate.
Rising healthcare costs
Advertisement

“In one year I had surgery on both hands, bladder cancer surgery, hernia surgery. My heart was starting to fail. I developed diabetes. High blood pressure. Enormous stress,” he said.

Lowney had health insurance but still ran up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. In 2007 he applied for a disability grant. It took five years to be approved, during which time he relied on food stamps and other small grants he was entitled to as a single parent raising his teenage daughter.

When the disability allowance came through in 2012, payments were backdated to the date of his application. But almost all of that lump sum immediately went to clear some of his outstanding medical bills. That still left him more than $40,000 in debt to doctors and hospitals.

“I have never drinked. I’ve never smoked. I’m a very strong Catholic and I practice those values. No way is this from any immorality on my part,” he said. “Here I am, I’ve worked hard all my life, put myself through college, raised three kids, been a single parent at different times in my life. Now I’m bankrupt. Not only bankrupt but with a remaining huge debt.”

Except Lowney isn’t legally bankrupt because he says he can’t afford the $1,200 fee to file the paperwork. His only income is the $1,481 month disability grant. He lives in sparsely furnished two-storey public housing. On the wall next to the kitchen door is a picture of Lowney with former president Jimmy Carter when the pair were working as volunteer house builders for Habitat for Humanity in Mexico.

“We put up 100 homes in Tijuana in a one-week blitz,” he said. “The irony is I’m now living in public housing myself. Which, by the way, I’m very thankful for.”

Much of his income still goes to pay for medical treatment, including the two trays on his living room table of an array of pills to treat his various conditions.

“I still pay at least $300 a month in medications,” he said. On top of that there are bills for regular visits to the hospital. Some months, he relies on the local food bank to feed himself.

In searching for explanations for why the US is alone among developing countries in grappling with a rising death rate among its middle-aged white population, Lowney contrasts his situation with a cousin, a fisherman in Ireland who was injured in a work accident at sea and spent a year in hospital.

“He told me it cost him 39 euros. That’s all because of the health system they have in Ireland,” he said.

Lowney ran up most of his debts before Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms. They have been a big leap forward for many Americans by, among other things, preventing insurance companies from cutting people off mid-treatment or capping payments for expensive medications, such as for cancer. But even with subsidized rates for low-income families, a trip to the doctor can still prove expensive because most insurance policies require holders to pay the first few thousand dollars each year before coverage kicks in.

That has put many people in the position of paying for insurance but being unable to afford to go to the doctor.

According to the Butte-Silver Bow Community Health Needs Assessment for 2014 23% of people in Montana have no health insurance.

But the report said that even among those with insurance, nearly 40% faced obstacles to receiving needed healthcare. About one-third said they could not afford the cost of the doctor or prescription. Nearly 8% said they lacked transport to get to a clinic. More than 11% said they skipped or reduced prescription doses in order to save money.

Kristen Ryan is among them. She works with children with disabilities in Butte. Her husband is a maintenance engineer at an elementary school but has two additional part-time jobs, including bar shifts, to bring in extra cash.

    It’s to keep our head above water, to keep our kids in clothes and hot lunches. We make too much money to get help
    Kristen Ryan, mother of four

“It’s to keep our head above water, to keep our kids in clothes and hot lunches. We make too much money to get help but it still is difficult,” she said.

The couple owns a small house Ryan bought when she was single but it only has two bedrooms to house four children and they cannot afford to buy a bigger place.

Ryan and her husband both have health insurance through their jobs but they hesitate to go to the doctor because they have to meet the first $5,000 of treatment costs.

“It has to be something pretty significant for me to go and the same for my husband,” she said. “I see that in my husband where his back will hurt or he’s got a funky foot and sometimes he’s in a lot of pain but he won’t go because he knows that it’s going to end up costing a lot of money just to see the doctor.”
Chronic pain and suicide
Advertisement

The Princeton study and Rosston both identified chronic pain as a big driver of suicide among middle-aged people.

“The typical death certificate that I often read is a typical 55-year-old male who is having chronic pain issues in his back and is not being treated,” he said. “We know nationally that about 30% of the people who die by suicide have issues of chronic pain or chronic illness. We saw even higher numbers in Montana.”

The increase in chronic pain has been tied to the surge in abuse of opioids such as Oxycontin, which have taken hold across the United States. That has contributed to a sharp rise in unintentional poisonings from drugs and alcohol which have risen by about 160% nationally since 1999. Montana has 82 painkiller prescriptions for every 100 people.

Case and Deaton say that “addictions are hard to treat and pain is hard to control, so those currently in midlife may be a ‘lost generation’ whose future is less bright than those who preceded them”.

Sullivan thinks it is less bright for other reasons. She said for many the prospect of retirement is a fresh crisis.
America's poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs
Read more

“Where people landed in life, expecting to exceed what their parents accomplished, really is at play in our country,” she said. “Once you retire, you’re on a fixed-income when life becomes more interesting and not in a good way. What do you do with your limited income?”

Lowney had to cash in his small pension of $17,500 to pay medical bills. Ryan sees no prospect of retiring.

“My job cut the employer contribution to my pension a couple of years ago. I prefer not to think about that because I know I don’t have anything. It’s very small. It’s not going to be enough to live on,” she said. “I think public housing or something like that might be in our future as we get older because I don’t know that we’re going to be able to do it on our own.

“We owe my mother-in-law quite a bit of money because sometimes more goes out than comes in. You don’t expect to have to borrow from your parents at this age. You would hope that they would be able to borrow from you if they needed to but that’s just not the way that it’s turned out.”

The Princeton study also notes that a higher proportion of middle-aged suicides are among people who have less than a university education, suggesting they are more likely to be in lower income jobs and more severely affected by growing economic inequality. Rosston sees that in Montana too.

“I actually review every single suicide that occurs in the state and we see that a very high percentage – about 80% – had less than a college degree. That may correlate with the type of jobs, the labour jobs, that they had because with only a high school education or maybe just a little bit of college you’re more likely to be in those labour intensive jobs,” he said.

Tracy Thompson heads the Laborers’ International Union of North America in Butte. She used to be a construction worker and then held a job at a pulp mill in Missoula, to the west of Butte, until it shut down in 2009.
Advertisement

Paid for by EVEN Hotels
5 HEALTHY NYC SWEET SPOTS

Take a bite out of The Big Apple. You deserve it.
See More

“We lost four people to suicide when they closed their doors. These were individuals making $50,000 or $60,000 a year, maybe more. All of a sudden they’re forced into early retirement or to find employment elsewhere. One guy had worked there for 30 years. We were all shocked he took his life,” she said. “You see it all around. You see a guy dies at 53. What did he die of?”

According to the Butte-Silver Bow Community Health Needs Assessment for 2014, more than one-third of residents show symptoms of chronic depression.

“I grapple with depression,” said Ryan. “I take an anti-depressant. I find my situation very stressful. I find that I have trouble sleeping. I have to tell myself not to think about it so I can go to sleep. It’s hard not to be able to do for your kids what you want to be able to do.

“I’ve heard that the majority of Americans are afraid of even a $500 emergency. They’re one broken refrigerator away from not being able to make it. That’s us.”

That may go some way to explain the differing middle aged death rate with other developed countries that have extensive welfare systems, free or cheap health care and greater support for pensioners. The proportion of US pensioners living in poverty is more than double that in Germany and nearly six times that of France. Few western Europeans are fearful of losing their homes to pay medical bills.

Sullivan also thinks there may be something else unusually American at work.

    The power this traditional white male used to have is decreasing and they aren’t at the root of power anymore
    Karen Sullivan, health director

“I’ve watched white males rule this country from the beginning. The power that this traditional white male used to have is decreasing. We’ve evolved and white males aren’t necessarily at the root of power anymore. Everything from the Oregon military takeover to the abuse people have hurled at our president, I think a lot of that is at play,” she said.

African Americans on the other hand have long struggled against inequality and have generally held fewer assumptions about social advancement, which may explain why the same increases in suicides and drug and alcohol deaths have not been seen among middle aged black people.

Rosston said that whatever the causes, the increased numbers of suicides reflects a mental health crisis that is not being addressed in part because of a lack of professionals but also because of a reluctance to seek their help.

“We have a very high shortage of mental health professionals in our state, specifically psychiatrists. About 80% of the people who take psychotropic medication in Montana have never even spoken to a psychiatrist,” he said. “Also, there’s a stigma when it comes to mental illness. We have that kinda cowboy mentality, frontier mentality of taking care of your own, and people see depression as a weakness.

“The words I often see when I review suicides is that the person thought they were a burden. That they weren’t serving a purpose anymore or they’re tired of dealing with things. When you feel that way, you’re not going to ask for help.”

• In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
108 Views
Last post July 16, 2016, 11:59:05 AM
by Eddie
0 Replies
204 Views
Last post September 23, 2016, 12:40:16 AM
by Palloy
0 Replies
140 Views
Last post April 03, 2017, 11:35:10 AM
by RE