Statistics show that suicide rates increase in times of economic trouble. A new study looked at suicide rates compared to business cycles and made some startling discoveries. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that working people aged 25-64 were at most risk for suicide during poor economic times. Death by suicide climbed significantly during the great depression and the oil crisis of the mid 1970’s and dropped when the economy improved.
“Knowing suicides increased during economic recessions and fell during expansions underscores the need for additional suicide prevention measures when the economy weakens,” said James Mercy, acting director of CDC’s Injury Center’s Division of Violence Prevention. This new study is the first of its kind to cover an 80-year time span and identify 8 different age sectors. The findings show that the largest percentage of suicides was from those who were of median working age and responsible for multiple financial obligations, including mortgages and educational expenses.
Dr. Alexander E. Crosby, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention and a coauthor of the paper stated in another article, that people are at risk for suicide due to many factors, including difficult relationships, mental illness, addictions, and that the financial strain can be the final straw. Dr. Crosby hopes that the message people receive from this research is to reach out to those who are most vulnerable. He encourages communities to target their prevention outreach programs to working Americans between the ages of 25 and 54, and to put special emphasis on regions hit particularly hard by unemployment and other economic plights. Dr. Crosby hopes that by doing this, this sector of at risk people will know “where to turn, who to turn to, and don’t feel like they are isolated and have no hope, nowhere to go.”
If you feel you or someone you know many be at risk, the National Crisis Hotline can help. Call 1-800-273-TALK
© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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