Emotional depression along with economic recession?

suicide rates compared to employment ratesCNN has a story looking into whether suicides increase as the economy falls into a recession and investors begin to lose thousands of dollars in the stock market. According to a chart by the NIH & Bureau of Labor Statistics, there seems to be a correlation. Here are the latest high-profile suicides that seem to have been prompted by the economic downturn:

  • Steven Good, a chairman and CEO of Sheldon Good & Co., a major U.S. real estate auction company, may have shot himself, according to police.
  • Adolf Merckle, a 74-year-old German billionaire who was ranked the 94th richest person in the world by Forbes magazine, killed himself by walking in front of a train. According to the CNN article, “in recent months his empire had been near collapse.”
  • Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, a 65-year-old French investor, killed himself after losing $1.4 billion in the Ponzi scheme that Bernard Madoff ran.
  • Kirk Stephenson, 47-year-old English financier  and COO of Olivant Ltd., jumped in front of a train in September (the real climax in the economic collapse).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than 32,000 people commit suicide each year but public health experts expect an increase upwards to an additional 1200 suicides because of the economic climate. Here are a few more stats that are worth reading:

  • Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline went from 412,768 in 2007 up to 540,041 in 2008.
  • Unemployed people are two to four times more likely to kill themselves than those who are employed.

I have to admit, I found that following paragraph interesting:

So what about these wealthy and powerful men who have recently killed themselves? Mental health experts say it’s impossible to say why they did it, but they say that people who kill themselves have an underlying psychological issue, such as depression or bipolar disorder, so it’s not only about the money.

So I pose a question: Do all those who commit suicide have a mental illness? Or is it possible to kill oneself without being mentally ill?

3 Comments

  1. Gianna said,

    January 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    I personally don’t think one needs to be mentally ill to kill themselves…
    I don’t think people are necessarily mentally ill if they are so lost spiritually as to believe they amount to nothing if they have no money…no that is a result of our sick and twisted materialistic and spiritually bankrupt society…
    society is sick…we simply live in a sick society and are human beings reacting to the mess we’ve created…
    drugs aren’t going to get us out of this…serious reevaluation of what is actually important might.

  2. January 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Gianna, agreed.

  3. Amanda said,

    January 26, 2009 at 1:48 am

    I think that although there is some sort of correlation, the tight financial situations of people make it harder for them to get help. With the sickening feeling of therapy costs and medication costs, it adds to the already strict budgets people have.


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