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Isolation and Loneliness: The Neoliberal Dilemma


 

12 January 2024

 

In the complex tapestry of societal issues, one of the critical problems exacerbated by the neoliberal system is the pervasive sense of loneliness and the resultant mental health struggles. According to Menno Sedee, suicide rates are disproportionately higher among men, underscoring the profound impact of neoliberalism’s push towards extreme individualism (Sedee, 2023).

Neoliberalism, emphasizing individual success and self-reliance, has created a culture where handling emotions alone becomes increasingly challenging. Men, in particular, face difficulty expressing themselves openly and discussing their feelings. Pressures related to work performance, job loss, or the conclusion of a career can trigger mental health issues, making it crucial to recognize and address these challenges.

Interestingly, while women may have a higher incidence of attempted suicides, men are more successful in their attempts due to the employment of more aggressive methods. Communication and the act of talking about one’s feelings are vital tools in combating this crisis. However, it’s noteworthy that women experience depression at twice the rate of men, yet men commit suicide twice as often. Age becomes a key indicator, with a significant percentage of suicides occurring in men aged 40 to 70.

Men often resort to masking their depression symptoms with substances such as alcohol, drugs, and pornography as a way of escaping their emotional pain. It’s important to understand that depression is a complex interplay of biological, psychological, and social-environmental factors, making it imperative to address these issues comprehensively.

An intriguing observation is that men themselves often deny experiencing depression, possibly due to societal expectations and stereotypes. Experts argue that destigmatizing mental health issues could significantly enhance suicide prevention efforts, encouraging more open discussions and seeking help.

Men seeking help often express themselves vaguely when discussing their feelings and experiences. This highlights the need for more effective communication channels and support systems tailored to the unique challenges men face in expressing their emotional struggles.

Sedee also draws attention to the gender bias in research, emphasizing the need for increased studies on women’s health. This inclusion is vital for a comprehensive understanding of mental health issues and for ensuring that interventions are effective for all genders.

In conclusion, the current system has inadvertently fostered a society of isolated individuals, each grappling with their challenges independently. The pursuit of personal success has left us disconnected, and it’s clear that this paradigm is not working. A shift towards a more compassionate and collective approach is essential for creating a society where everyone can thrive together.

 

References

Sedee, M. (2023). Vrouwen hebben mij leren praten; De man als probleem. Vrij Nederland, 62-69.

 

 

 

Miguel Goede

 

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