A Western Trend

A Western Trend November 8, 2011

Suicide is a trend in the West.

We led the way in despair for the nation.

Alaska routinely takes the top spot. Followed by Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana, Nevada and Idaho. Oregon, with its liberal assisted-suicide laws, has the number 12 spot.

Experts say they aren’t exactly sure why the suicide rate is higher on the West Coast. If they had to guess, though, they’d mark it up to depression-inducing climates and lack of access to mental health services.  Idaho doesn’t even have a suicide hotline. A person in emotional distress is instead patched into a hotline in Oregon. I suppose it won’t be long now before we outsource our suicide hotlines. People in India will be giving us mental health advice via 1-800 numbers.

There’s one more thing that experts think might be adding to the high rate of suicides in the West — a “Cowboy” culture.

A cowboy-culture is one step below survivalist-mentality.

These cowboy-types are great about offering help but not so good at asking for it, or accepting it when it’s offered.

They are neighborly, offering a wave or a tip of the hat, but they are not the hugging type. I have been hug-deprived every since I moved West. When the cowboy-type meets the overtly effusive, they stiffen up and offer the only kind of hug they know, a side-saddle, one-arm embrace.

Living in community is a totally foreign notion to the cowboy-type.

The mantra of the cowboy-type is “I can do it myself.”

But on those few times when they can’t, they will, never ever admit to it.

Failure is not an option.

All a person needs to do is cowboy-up.







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