I call the current state of America "Dropout Nation" because of mass abandonment from the jobs market (not being unemployed but not looking for a job at all), homeownership, marriage, and having children. Perhaps, hand in hand with this trend is the spike in suicides in this country. While there are many reasons for people to take their own lives, including depression, there is no doubt current economic conditions have added to the tally (in Greece suicides increased 24% from 2007 to 2009, Italy says suicides from economic problems skyrocketed 52%, and in England it's called an epidemic).
It's more than disheartening. It's emblematic of a nation that's giving up, that's dropping out, with those that choose life living in the moment. In Japan, suicides came in at 23.8 people for every 100,000, a level that has been sustained for fourteen consecutive years coinciding with the two lost decades in the land of the (fading) sun. Now, in America, suicides out number people killed in automobile accidents. It's the third leading cause of death for those 15-24, holding steady after sprinting to a 21.3/100,000 ratio in 1997, from 6.3/100,000 in 1955, since then the number has drifted lower, but it has recently turned higher.
The current suicide crisis is most evident in men in what normally would be prime earning years (source CDC 2010).