While listening to cable TV idiots prattle on about the wedge issue du jour, we have this:
There is no saying how many suicides the recession has caused.
During the Great Depression, the suicide rate increased about 20 percent, from 14 to 17 per 100,000 people. The Asian economic crisis in 1997 led to an estimated 10,400 additional suicides in Japan, Hong Kong and Korea, with suicides spiking more than 40 percent among some demographic groups. But such statistics can mislead, social scientists say. Joblessness does not cause suicide. Rather, it correlates: Depressed persons tend to lose their jobs due to poor work performance, and a few also commit suicide. Jobless people tend to turn to alcohol, worsening their depression, and increasing the chances that they harm themselves. Still, academic studies show that suicide rates tend to move with the unemployment rate. Researchers in New Zealand found that the unemployed were up to three times as likely to commit suicide, with middle-aged men the most likely.
So how many suicides are associated with the recession? Nobody knows, not yet. The statistics lag about three years, so the official Center for Disease Control numbers still predate the financial crisis. Right now, therefore, the reports remain anecdotal.
But looking at individual counties’ or cities’ data, there are ominous signs of a real spike. Some counties show no change. Others show dramatic climbs. In rural Elkhart County, Ind., where the unemployment rate is 13.7 percent, there were nearly 40 percent more suicides in 2009 than in a normal year. In Macomb County, Mich., where the unemployment rate is also 13.7 percent, an average of 81 people per year committed suicide between 1979 and 2006. That climbed to 104 in 2008 and to more than 180 in 2009.
The suicide prevention hotlines also show signs of stress. In Jan. 2007, as the recession started, there were 13,423 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a nationwide toll-free hotline. A year later, there were 39,467. In Aug. 2009, the call volume peaked at 57,625. Last year, the government granted the group an extra $1 million to increase programs in places with high unemployment rates.
The article describes online sites where desperate people post their last good byes.
This is obscene! There are plenty of empty homes, foreclosed on, which could give people shelter. There is plenty of work that needs to be done to rebuild American infrastructure.
Yet this story, don't not make the news. People are so desperate, have lost all hope, really through no fault of their own, and are making one last public plea to see if anyone gives a damn.
No one should be in the above situation and this horror should be front page news.