Kieran Keohane's book Collision Cultures looks at the issue of suicide to a certain extent. He highlights the emergence of what he terms 'rurban' (rural and urban) communities - Middleton being a prime example - and 'glocal' contexts, where the local and global collide in a most confusing manner.
He highlights too that suicide epidemics have always been a feature of societies going through rapid change, such as at the time of the Industrial Revolution in England. The sense of 'limitlessness' experienced by young people entering this new society leads to a state of anomie, of listlessness, of what Durkheim called "a state of unbridled selfishness". The breakdown of mechanical solidarity and its replacement by organic solidarity, allied with changing belief systems (the collapse of traditional institutions which offered authority and moral boundaries such as the Church, for example), render young people lost, and cut them adrift from older potential role-models.
This is a rather crude synthesis of the sociological explanation currently doing the rounds at UCC.