How Financial Difficulty Can Lead to Suicide
(And What You Can Do About It)
I'll start with a personal story.
Although I am studying to be a therapist and I am familiar with the theoretical complex subject of suicide I have never experienced it firsthand. Until like many of us it did hit close to home.
My godfather Marco was a positive, helpful, and kind man and he recently passed due to years of battling depression and anxiety in silence. His final straw? A scam that left him penniless and in debt.
Suicide is a tragic, but preventable death. By understanding the factors that make someone more vulnerable to suicide, we can work to prevent future deaths.
One factor that has been shown to increase people’s risk of suicide is financial strain. Financial strain has been linked to suicide through several different mechanisms: it can cause stress and depression which are both risk factors for suicidal behavior; it can cause financial problems such as debt which create barriers to treatment and recovery, and it can lead people who have previously attempted suicide—a group with a high risk for future attempts—down a path towards self-destruction by making them feel hopeless about their ability to solve their problems in any other way.
In the case of my godfather he was of a vulnerable age, his 60s, he lived in Ecuador and was a working-class person looking to provide for his 12-year-old son and wife who is a cancer survivor.
People who are struggling with their mental health may be at a greater risk of making rash decisions that are financially irresponsible.
People who struggle with their mental health may be more likely to make rash decisions and engage in reckless behavior. A 2018 study found that people who were struggling with their mental health were significantly more likely to have financial problems than those who did not have any signs of depression or anxiety.
Additionally, people with poor mental health are less likely to seek out help for their financial struggles when they need it most. When someone is suffering from a serious illness like cancer or diabetes, loved ones will immediately step in to offer assistance as needed; but when someone is battling depression or anxiety—commonly known as “invisible diseases”—many friends and family members fail to recognize what's going on around them until it's too late.
Considering those factors it is no wonder that I think my godfather was easy prey for scammers who convinced him to "invest" in their bank stocks.
Having financial problems or being driven to desperation by debt can lead to hopelessness and suicidal thoughts.
Experiencing financial difficulty can leave someone feeling like their life is out of control and that there's little hope for improvement. This feeling can be especially intense if someone has other stressors in their life that contribute to feelings of helplessness, such as mental illness or substance use. If a person has no family or friends to help them through their problems, their sense of isolation may increase their feelings of hopelessness and make suicide seem like an attractive option.
However, when facing shame or embarrassment from financial difficulty, speaking to your loved ones seems like not an option.
Experiencing financial distress can also exacerbate mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders.
One of the main reasons that financial strain can lead to suicidal ideation is that it can exacerbate mental health issues. These issues include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders (SUD). In other words, if you're already dealing with one of these conditions, then being in debt could make it worse.
Being in financial debt or difficulty can feel like a deep box where the walls slowly creep in. It can feel asphyxiating and hopeless. All of which can exacerbate the already hopeless feelings that come with depression or other mental health issues.
There are other factors in the link between money and mental health, such as bankruptcy, overwhelming student debt, and gambling.
In a study that examined the relationship between financial strain and suicidal thoughts among teens, researchers found that financial strain was one of several risk factors for suicide ideation. This finding suggests that financial hardship may contribute to suicidal ideation by increasing stress levels. Other researchers have found similar results: they discovered an association between job loss and suicide attempts among adults aged 25-64 years old, suggesting that job loss can be both a cause of increased stress levels as well as an indicator of higher rates of depression or anxiety disorders (which themselves can lead to suicidal thoughts).
It’s also important to note that people who are already struggling with mental health issues—such as depression or anxiety—are more susceptible to experiencing negative effects from stressful life events like losing their job or ending up in debt because these events will only add fuel to the fire when it comes down to managing your mental health symptoms on top of everything else going wrong in your life right now."
The link between money troubles and mental health problems is strong but fortunately, help is available from organizations such as debtors anonymous.
It may be very difficult for people to find resources, but there are many different ways to get help. The most important thing is to start talking about the problem. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, contact a crisis hotline (800-273-8255) or call 911 immediately.
Unfortunately, some people may need professional help from a mental health professional as well as financial assistance from organizations that can help with financial problems, including Debtors Anonymous or another nonprofit organization that offers grants for those who need money for medical bills and other expenses related to mental health issues.
The best thing for anyone dealing with these issues is not giving up on themselves and making sure they talk about how they're feeling instead of trying to deal with everything alone—this will go much further than just getting rid of debt by itself!
The current financial strain on individuals and families may lead to an increased risk of suicide. While depression and anxiety have been linked to suicidal ideation, it may be difficult for individuals who are already struggling with finances to seek help, find community resources, or afford treatment. Thus it is important for people experiencing financial strain to access effective interventions that could prevent many suicides from happening in the first place.
In Loving Memory of Marco
About the author
I’m Geo, a writer, illustrator, and graduate student of Family Therapy. I believe in the importance of sharing information and knowledge so I write about mental health, spirituality, and psychology to inform people about these topics.