More suicides likely over credit crunch, warn Samaritans

THE deepening economic crisis could lead to more suicides as people face losing their jobs, mounting debt and housing insecurity. That’s the stark warning this week from Samaritans, the charity that counsels those in despair. Those without work are two to three times more likely to die by suicide than those with jobs, the charity has found

By Mike Brooke

THE deepening economic crisis could lead to more suicides as people face losing their jobs, mounting debt and housing insecurity.

That’s the stark warning this week from Samaritans, the charity that counsels those in despair.

Those without work are two to three times more likely to die by suicide than those with jobs, with men more at risk than women facing the same dilemma, the charity’s research has found.

“Economic recession, especially when it is sudden and severe, can lead to an increase in suicide,” warned Samaritans’ trustee Stephen Platt.


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“Even those in jobs feel threatened, with the fear of redundancy and pressures caused by a downturn in business, demotion or pension plan cuts which can be bad for mental health.”

Samaritans receives 2.8 million contacts a year by phone, email, letter and face-to-face. Four-out-of-10 had financial worries about employment, three-out-of-10 worried about housing and four-out-of-10 were anxious about debt.

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Samaritans organiser Joe Ferns said: “Financial difficulty can contribute to the breakdown of even the strongest relationships with friends and family.

“People may rely more on alcohol and drugs as a coping’ mechanism, which increases the risk of suicide.”

The organisation is urging friends and relatives worried about someone close to them to watch for tell tale’ signs.

These include being withdrawn or unsociable, depressed, drinking excessively or depending on drugs, finding it difficult to relate to others, being tearful or constantly fighting back tears, finding it hard to concentrate and putting themselves down mockingly or seriously.

GPs and other health professionals are also being urged to watch for mental symptoms that may be linked to unemployment and financial strain.

Those needing help can contact Samaritans by phone on 08457-909090, by email on jo@samaritans.org or face-to-face at one of the 201 local branches.

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