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Killer Economy – Update

April 22, 2009

A serious condition is spreading across this country, and likely others.  The fallout from personal financial distress is presenting itself in deadly ways.  Without recognizing the helplessness and hopelessness attitude covering unemployed, uninsured and desperate people, we are allowing the worse to happen.  Small community based and faith based support groups, alone, cannot handle the onslaught of depression caused by personal economic meltdowns.  The most glaring problem is the lack of mental health support for those in denial or those at the end of their rope.  Those who choose to end their life in a way that allows insurance fr their families are the least reported.  Those who just end their lives and take their family with them will get some media play without full recognition from the health care industry, unless of course, they are high enough profile.  The flu pandemic is a treatable issue that has world attention.  The desperation pandemic gets only local attention.  Where is the demographic study?  Where is the HHS survey?  Is anyone even keeping track of the numbers?  Important stories don’t always have to center around sex and celebrity.  This is a public health crisis that must be addressed immediately.  Pressure your congressman and senator for immediate action on this glaring crisis.  Even the IRS recognizes personal economic catastrophes and tries to adjust their collection requirements.  That is saying a lot.  On a personal level, keep an eye on your friends and neighbors and try to be supportive.  For yourself, dump any denial, shame and hopelessness you might feel, that is temporary, reach out.  It is far more noble to admit than submit to self-destruction.

AlterNet:  Economic Fallout Has Spurred an Epidemic of Murder and Suicide That Has Gone Largely Unnoticed

A silent, nationwide epidemic of drastic measures may be underway, so why aren’t we talking about it?

Mass Murder, Mass Media, and Missing Stories

Last summer, in the pages of the Nation magazine, Barbara Ehrenreich called attention to people turning to “the suicide solution” in response to the burgeoning financial crisis. Months later, major news outlets started to examine the same phenomenon. Last fall, a TomDispatch report on suicides and a range of other extreme acts — including self-inflicted injury, murder, arson, and armed self-defense — in response to foreclosures, evictions, bankruptcies, and layoffs, was followed, months later, by mainstream media attention to the notion of “econo-cide” — prompted, in large part, by a spate of familicides (murder/suicides in which both parents and their children die).

While it’s impossible to know the myriad factors, including deeply personal ones, that contribute to people resorting to drastic measures, violent or otherwise, many press reports suggest that the global economic crisis has played no small part in a range of extreme acts.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment, and mental health services delivery system.

This guide provides practical advice on how to deal with the effects financial difficulties can have on your physical and mental health — it covers:

Suicides are underreported – there’s widespread agreement on that,” Ian Rockett, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and associate chair of the WVU Department of Community Medicine,  said. “I’m very concerned about underreporting. I’m also concerned there may be a treatment gap – that people at risk of suicide are not receiving appropriate treatment.”

Experts: Spring Season, Plus Money Woes, May Prompt Suicide Spike

“Previous recessions have been associated with increases in suicide, especially in younger men,” says Keith Hawton, DSc, who published a report on suicide risk factors in this week’s issue of The Lancet, along with co-author Kees van Heeringen, PhD, of University Hospital in Gent, Belgium. “We think that the effects of the recession will be greater than any seasonal effect,” says Hawton, the director of the Center for Suicide Research at the University of Oxford in the U.K.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide, and 1 million people die each year due to suicide—one every 40 seconds.

While suicide seems unpredictable, researchers know quite a bit about the complex factors that can cause someone to take his or her own life. They know that suicides rates are higher in unemployed populations (in some cases, because people who are mentally ill have a harder time holding down a job), and tend to spike after natural disasters and deaths of celebrities. After Princess Diana’s death in 1997, for example, suicides rose 17%.

Hard times’ toll

As the economic crisis continues, financial fears can push those who are vulnerable to harming themselves and others over the edge, experts warn

Kenosha Wisconsin
Kenosha Wisconsin

The headlines have had a similar ring: A Frederick County man underwater on his mortgage kills himself and his family. A man accused of financial improprieties does the same while staying at a Towson hotel. A top official with Freddie Mac, a company with major money woes, is found dead in an apparent suicide.

With the economic crisis showing little sign of easing – and with a known link between suicide and unemployment rates – experts warn that stressful life events such as losing a job, a home or savings can unhinge those who are vulnerable to harming themselves and others. The suicide rate, like the incidence of depression, rises when the economy falls.

“It is so regular a pattern among most of the industrialized countries of the world that it is virtually an economic indicator,” said M. Harvey Brenner, professor emeritus at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “It’s a standard feature of recession.”

Calls to suicide help lines are up. The Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in Columbia has seen a 15 percent increase in calls this year from people who feel suicidal. In February, the center recorded a 300 percent spike over February 2008 in calls from people who said money was the main cause of their distress.

Freddie Mac official found dead

WASHINGTON April 22, 2009, 08:09 am ET · David Kellermann, the acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac, was found dead at his home Wednesday morning in what broadcast reports said was an apparent suicide.

WUSA-TV and WTOP Radio reported that David Kellermann was found dead in his Northern Virginia home. The 41-year-old Kellermann has been Freddie Mac’s chief financial officer since

Kellerman Suicide
Kellerman Suicide

September.

Sabrina Ruck, a Fairfax County police spokesman, confirmed to The Associated Press that Kellermann was dead, but she could not confirm that he committed suicide.

Kellermann’s death is the latest blow to Freddie Mac, a government controlled company that owns or guarantees about 13 million home loans. CEO David Moffett resigned last month.

McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac and sibling company Fannie Mae, which together own or back more than half of the home mortgages in the country, have been hobbled by skyrocketing loan defaults and have received about $60 billion in combined federal aid.

Kellermann was named acting chief financial officer in September 2008, after the resignation of Anthony “Buddy” Piszel, who stepped down after the September 2008 government takeover. The chief financial officer is responsible for the company’s financial controls, financial reporting and oversight of the company’s budget and financial planning.

Before taking that job, Kellerman served as senior vice president, corporate controller and principal accounting officer. He was with Freddie Mac for more than 16 years.

Long Island family was found dead in a suburban Baltimore hotel room

Family of seven killed in L.A. murder-suicide

Murder-Suicide in Silicon Valley’s Indian Family

Sailor killed in murder-suicide

Murder-Suicide Rise a Terrible Wake up Call for All

SoCal Murder-Suicide Father Awash in Debt

Murder Suicide

There is definitely a great connect with extreme behavior caused by drastic reversals of fortune.  Society has been groomed to extend their credit, gamble with their future and know there was always a way to wiggle through.  Market driven economy, married to planned obsolescence and social pressure, has caused America to live in a fantasy world.  Living the serious joke that “who dies with  the most toys wins” has become the deadly delusion.  Rather than strive to fit into society, Americans have been groomed to rise above society and create their own realities.  This trend is proving deadly for those immersed in the fantasy.  Americans are finding reality a hard pill to swallow.  Rethinking lifestyle, combined with social pressures, and the all too deadly live the IMAGE mentality has failed to prepare a whole nation for what is being defined as failure.  Failure is not the end of anything, it is a detour and course correction.  Americans have lost their imagination, becoming dependent upon the last fumes of “the American Way” as envisioned by our ancestors.  THE RISE OF SUICIDE and collateral damage is a harsh demonstration that the American Way was distorted into a deadly fantasy.  The fantasy was that corporations and politicians really had the population’s best interests in mind.  When the reality was, they were living their own distorted “grab it while no one is looking” philosophy.  The loss of trust and loss of alternative life solutions have depressed a population of individuals.  Individuals who cannot accept they are a part of a larger family are doomed.  When people cannot accept failure as a learning curve, they opt for death.  This is not acceptable.  Destruction of friends and loved ones along with the depressed self is the most selfish choice anyone can make.  Not giving someone else the option to succeed where you have failed is despicable.

Related Updates

Despondent dads driven to kill loved ones

  • Questions remain after fathers annihilate their entire families
  • Perpetrator might kill family because he wants to save them from perceived doom
  • Some perpetrators have mental illness that causes “distorted thinking”

According to research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, about 60 percent of the perpetrators of familicides were unemployed. While the shaky economy could increase

ABC News
ABC News

stress levels, experts warned against attributing the spate of violence to the economy.

“They become very depressed as the breadwinner,” Resnick said. “With their distorted, depressive perceptions, they feel that rather than allow their children to go hungry, they may feel they’re doing a favor to take their family with them as they end their own life. … They’re not depriving them of life, they’re ending what they see as an intolerable life.”

Murder-Suicide Numbers

Out of 1,500 to 2,000 murder-suicides a year, the Violence and Injury Prevention Program at University of South Florida estimates

  • 10 percent are familicides
  • 70 percent have two victims
  • 7 to 8 percent involve children and babies
  • 2 percent are mass events
  • 7 to 8 percent involve nonfamily members

The Symptoms of Suicide Survivors

Depression, Anxiety and Quality of Life in Suicide Survivors: A Comparison of Close and Distant Relationships

For each person who commits suicide, it is estimated conservatively that as many as 6 to10 survivors (persons close to the suicide victim or “suicide survivors”) remain alive to cope with the loss.

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One Comment
  1. June 5, 2009 7:29 am

    There is no doubt that the economic and financial pressure do affect suicide rate but it is not the sole thing responcible. It is a combination of tendency clubbed with such critival time in ones life that makes it happen. There should be an education since child hood that life is not just a matter of enjoyment , it is in fact more to do with dischage of duties. A dity bound person would not ove board.

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