Suicide Rates Up Since Recession Began, Debt A 'Way Of Life' For 99ers

Suicide Rates Up Since Recession Began, Debt A 'Way Of Life' For 99ers

Since April, The Huffington Post has reported on the 99ers, individuals who've been unable to find work, and have seen unemployment benefits run out after 99 weeks on the program. In the coming years, we may come to discover not just the economic ramifications of the recession, but the emotional as well.

Though stock prices may be dropping, one thing is on the rise: suicide rates.

Though experts say we may not know for years how much the rate has increased, calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline increased by 36 percent in 2008, and another 15 percent in 2009.

Data compiled by The Wall Street Journal in late 2009 showed increases in several states. Of the 19 states surveyed, 13 had seen marginal increases in the suicide rate. Tennessee had the highest rate of increase, with over 15 percent more suicides in 2008 than 2007. Across the 19 states, the average increase was 2.3 percent.

This trend was also seen during the Great Depression, when the suicide rate increased by 21 percent in the early 1930s (about 17 of every 100,000 people).

If you believe someone you know is suffering from depression and in danger of attempting suicide, you can take the following steps (recommended by the Mayo Clinic):

To start, talk to the person and ask them questions. You can get a gauge of how this person is feeling, and sometimes an ear to listen is the best first step to recovery.

If you believe someone is in imminent danger of attempting suicide, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following immediate steps.

  • Don't leave the person alone.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency services provider right away. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself.
  • Try to find out if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose.
  • Tell a family member or friend right away what's going on.

If you're passionate about this cause, you can volunteer with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and be trained to answer crisis calls.

Anyone feeling suicidal should call their line immediately: 1-800-273-8255

There are several organizations dedicated to suicide prevention including SAVE and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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