The financial stress brought on by the recession of 2008 very likely played a part in the recent uptick in middle-aged Americans committing suicide. In 37.5% of all suicides of middle-aged Americans in 2010, the factors reported in a recent study were problems with work, financial stress and/or legal problems. This was an increase of nearly 33% of suicides than occurred in 2005.

Problems with mental health are still the leading contributor in suicides committed in middle age, and in fact this was a factor in 80% of deaths by suicide in this age group. However financial matters more than likely played a significant role in suicide in someone who was perhaps only thinking about suicide.  The study only found a link between the increase in suicide rates and financial stress, without proving a definite cause and effect.

In general, suicide rates in the U.S. among adults from 40 to 64 years of age have gone up about 40% since 1999. What’s notable is that the slow, but continuing increase in suicide deaths among this age group dramatically increased from 2007 to 2010, the time of the recession.  Researchers sought to determine if the last recession, which the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research says began in December 2007, was a major factor in the rise in suicides among adults in this age group.

The evidence garnered in the research indicates that middle-aged Americans may have suffered increased financial stress throughout the recession. Results showed that more than 25% of workers from age 50 to 64 had their salary reduced during this time, which is more than younger workers with only 20% experiencing salary reductions.

For the study the information from the National Violent Death Reporting System was used. What they found were 17 different circumstances related to suicide deaths, in 3 distinct categories as follows:

Personal problems: mental health issues, depression or substance abuse.

Interpersonal issues: relationship problems, death of a close friend, or domestic violence.

External situation: loss of a job or work, financial stress, legal problems.

According to the research there was an uptick in suicides committed by middle-aged Americans from 2005 to 2010 having to do with external factors, like losing a job and financial worries. During those same years the suicide rate involving people in that age group with personal problems or interpersonal issues remained stable or even declined. 

People who were younger, under 40 years of age, did not appear to have the same added pressure of financial matters when making the decision to take their lives, according to the researchers. The rates of suicides among America’s younger adults associated with the loss of a job or financial stress stayed level, while at the same time these problems seemed to play a larger role in suicides among the middle-aged.

When someone is faced with losing their job, these people may be at a higher risk for suicide. Family and friends of someone experiencing financial stress should be watching for warning signs that they may be contemplating suicide. They might talk about suicide, start giving away their prized possessions, may be withdrawing socially and becoming more isolated. You should extend a helping hand if you think this person needs assistance getting through this difficult time.

Because our treatment for depression relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders.

In Tennessee, about 3.7% of all adults will have serious thoughts of suicide.  Furthermore, less half of all individuals with any mental illness in Tennessee will receive mental health treatment. In 2011, the latest year for which state-specific figures are available, Tennessee’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 14.6 per 100,000 people, translating into 938 reported suicide deaths. This rate and number are down from previous years but are still above the national average of 12.4 per 100,000.

Effective treatment for depression is available.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in seven peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender.

If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful and people who have completed our program have resulted in our treatment program receiving very highly consumer satisfaction scores and reviewsCall us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.