Samaritans fears suicide increase due to economic crisis
Emotional support charity urges anyone in emotional distress to seek 24-hour confidential support this Christmas and throughout the coming year
Samaritans warns that the deepening financial and economic crises could lead to an increase in suicide rates nationwide as people face unemployment, mounting debt and housing insecurity. The charity is encouraging people to look out for family, friends and colleagues in these times of economic uncertainty.
Stephen Platt, Professor of Health Policy Research at the University of Edinburgh and a Samaritans’ Trustee, said: “Economic recession, especially when it is sudden and severe, can lead to an increase in suicide rates. This is not only because more people become unemployed and, as a result, more psychologically vulnerable, but also because those in employment feel threatened too.
"The fear of losing one’s job and pressures caused by a downturn in business, demotion or pension plan cutbacks can be bad for mental health and therefore increase suicide risk."
Samaritans receives 2.8 million contacts a year by phone, email, letter and face-to-face. Research undertaken by the charity shows that one in ten (about 280,000) contacts concerns financial issues, with 41 per cent of contacts who raise financial issues worried about employment, 32 per cent concerned about housing and 25 per cent anxious about debt. (4)
Joe Ferns of Samaritans said: "Financial difficulty can contribute to the breakdown of even the strongest relationships with friends and family. People may rely more heavily on alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanismand it is well established that excessive alcohol consumption and drug misuse increase suicide risk.
“We urge anyone feeling distressed or struggling to cope this Christmas to share their problems rather than letting them get out of control. Talk to your family, friends and colleagues or, if you feel you can’t do this, contact us. We are open around the clock over the festive period, even when many other public services are closed."