According to MSNBC, suicide rates have increased in several areas, and the recession might be to blame. For example, in Macomb County, Michigan – where the unemployment rate is close to 20% - suicide rates have increased by 70% over the last year. In Elkhart County, Indiana, they’ve already tied the region’s record for suicide deaths in a single year, and the year’s not even over yet. Elkhart County coroner John White says some people left notes specifically stating that the reason they took their own life was because of the economy. One person mentioned in the article committed suicide after telling family members he was overwhelmed with credit card debt. Another person took their own life within days of receiving a foreclosure notice.
So is the recession really causing suicide rates to increase? Experts say that typically, a combination of conditions and events is what drives people to take their own lives. So people may have been dealing with other problems – like depression or relationship issues – and then something recession-related pushed them over the edge, like getting fired. Tough economic times always play a part. For example, people who’ve lost jobs are three times more likely to commit suicide compared to those who are employed. Basically, being laid off, getting into debt, or losing a home may be the last straw for people who are already suffering. If you think someone’s suicidal, here are some warning signs to watch for:
- Sudden changes in personality - such as irritability, anxiety, anger, apathy or sadness.
- Changes in sleep patterns or eating habits.
- Less attention to personal appearance. For example, the person stops washing their hair or their clothes are always dirty.
- Loss of interest in activities, like sports or socializing with friends.
- Preoccupation with death and dying or talking about wanting to die.
- An increase in risk taking and reckless behavior.