At Samaritans, we’re aware that people are feeling under increasing pressure over money. At the start of the current financial crisis in 2008, one in 10 of our calls was about money, debt and related issues. Since then, this figure has risen to one in six.
Although we know that worries about debt or the threat of losing a home can cause stress and depression, it’s important to understand that suicide is complex, and it is seldom the result of a single factor. It is likely to have several inter-related causes.
For example, years of worry over money and debt can easily take a toll on relationships with family and friends. Relationship breakdown is itself a major cause of depression and suicidal feelings. It is clear that however complex a person’s issues might be, there is an undeniable link between financial worries and poor mental health.
Money and debt worries are the nation’s biggest concerns
Samaritans commissioned a survey in December to look at the nation’s biggest worries. The results showed worries over money and debt topping the poll at 49 percent. The related issue of housing was at 14 per cent, while concerns over job security registered at 24 percent.
Of course money is very closely linked to employment, or the lack of it. People who are unemployed are two to three times more likely to die by suicide than those who are in work. Our research shows that men have been hit especially hard by unemployment and are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.
Indeed men in the lowest socio-economic groups (living in the most deprived areas) are ten times more likely to take their own lives than those in the highest social classes living in the most affluent areas.
Whatever the cause, each suicide is a tragedy. Sometimes people get to a point where they feel they cannot cope, where it all gets too much to handle. People can feel worthless, trapped in their situation with no way out, and that the future holds nothing good for them. It is worse if people feel they are alone and they cannot talk to anyone about what is weighing on them.
Hard to talk about the burden
Sometimes people we know in our lives want to talk but we just do not realise – the signs can be there. If you are worried about someone do try and talk to them about how they are feeling.
But sometimes it’s hard to talk to family or friends. People do not want to burden those close to them, or they can feel ashamed or struggle to ask for help. What everyone needs to know and understand is that help is always there at the end of a telephone.
Samaritans can be called or emailed any time, on any day of the year. The more than 20,000 Samaritans volunteers are ordinary people, and they provide a safe place to talk. Calls are completely confidential. People who contact us are free to be themselves – we’ll not judge.
Talk to us
We answer more than five million calls for help each year. People talk to us about money troubles, family struggles, job stress, relationship issues, loneliness, isolation, trying to measure up, worthlessness or feeling suicidal.
It does not matter what kind of problem you have, however big or small it may seem compared to the problems other people have. What matters to us is how your life is making you feel. Of course many people who call us are not suicidal, but we still want them to contact us if they’re struggling to cope.
Samaritans will be there for anybody who needs someone to listen to them. We’re available round the clock every single day of the year. Anyone who needs to talk can call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find the details for their local branch on the Samaritans website.