Psychological and Economic Depression Can Coincide, With Higher Suicide Rates During Financial Crisis, Says CDC

Depression and anxiety typically hit people hardest when they are going through difficulties of one kind or another, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce or illness, which are a common cause of despondency. If that person’s sadness becomes severe most loved ones and physicians will encourage him or her to seek psychological care and perhaps medical support such as a suicide psychiatrist, long before any risk of suicide became evident. One cause of an increase in suicidal thinking, or suicidal tendencies, that many families and physicians don’t consider, however, is economic hardship and it is an issue that is all-too germane to many Americans now struggling with personal financial crisis.

The results of an in-depth, decades-long study recently came out which showed direct correlations between economic downturns and sharp spikes in suicide rates. Conducted by the Centers For Disease Control from 1928 to 2007, the 79-year survey revealed that more people committed suicide during financial crises—such as when the stock market fell in 1929, during the aptly named Great Depression, and the Oil Crisis of the 1970’s—than during periods of expansion. The saddest aspect of these figures is that better suicide prevention strategies were very likely not considered necessary, despite the increase in suicidal victims of economic hardship.

Texas suicide lawyer Skip Simpson believes this study is germane to what is happening in this country today and that it serves as a wake up call to all doctors, nurses, counselors and working with mental health patients, particularly psychiatric doctors. “It is vital,” he insists, “that all healthcare professionals—intake nurses, general practitioners and mental health practitioners alike—take into account a patient’s financial situation when discussing his or her mental health problems.”

Experts at the CDC agree. “Knowing suicides increased during economic recessions and fell during expansions underscores the need for additional suicide prevention measures when the economy weakens,” said James Mercy, Ph.D., acting director of CDC’s Injury Center’s Division of Violence Prevention. “It is an important finding for policy makers and those working to prevent suicide.”

The study, entitled “Impact of Business Cycles on the U.S. Suicide Rates, 1928–2007”, is the first to investigate the relationships between suicide rates and the economy. In 1932, the last full year in the Great Depression, suicides increased by 22.8%, a record in any four-year period in history. It is noteworthy that the study found the greatest link between business cycles and people who commit suicide who were of typical working ages: 25-64 years old.

When people are dealing with being laid off from work, a subsequent home foreclosure or having to make drastic lifestyle changes such as ending up homeless, being dependent on relatives or going on welfare, depression and anxiety can set in. We’ve all read those stories about they guy who killed himself the day after he lost his job or the woman who took her own life after ending up on the street due to bankruptcy. It is vital that psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists examine every aspect of a patient’s life situation, so that they administer proper mental health care, including anti-anxiety and anti-depressants if indicated. If a patient attempts suicide while in the care of a doctor or there was as an in-patient suicide at a mental health facility, an improper diagnosis or poor decisions to properly protect the patient is a basis for a medical suicide malpractice case.

If you lost a loved one due to a medical practitioner’s failure to properly recognize suicide risk and implement suicide prevention measures, you need an experienced suicide attorney who can help you seek the justice you deserve. Contact Skip Simpson Attorneys and Counselors by calling 214-618-8222 or completing our online contact form. We know what you’re going through and can fight for your rights.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson
2591 Dallas Parkway, Suite 300
Frisco, Texas 75034


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