Suicide rates in a tough economy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Suicide rates in a tough economy

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- In just the past week there have been three attempted suicides here in Eastern Iowa. While police have not linked these to the current economic conditions, a report done by the University of Iowa Injury Prevention resource center says suicide is the leading cause of death for Iowans age 35 to 54.

So what does that mean during a tough economy when unemployment is rising?

Experts say they haven't seen a rise in suicide rates. But when circumstance of a bad economy combined with others stresses can spur suicidal thoughts.

Sally Roy-Boynton is the director of behavioral health at Mercy Hospital. She helps people with substance abuse, depression and suicide.

"Generally suicides are caused by a multitude of stresses coming to a person. Even knowing that that person has some things going on that may dispose them to depression or suicide thoughts," said Roy-Boynton.

She says loosing your job doesn't usually trigger those thoughts. But if a person already has a history of mental health or has a substance abuse problem, the stress compiles.

"I think it's not a one dimensional thing for sure. It's usually a combination of stresses and a combination of the persons ability to coop with those stresses," said Roy-Boynton

She says no one should ever take suicidal thoughts lightly. Never ignore comments from a friend or family member. Always seek professional help and if you think someone is suicidal, remove anything harmful from their environment. Most importantly she wants everyone to know suicide is not that answer.

"Don't dwell on the negatives, dwell on the stresses, but try and balance your life," said Roy-Boynton.

We all know having a balance in life is always a struggle. But there is some good news here, she says during tough economic times many people turn to religion, family and future plans. Even sunny days like today serve as little reminders and signs of hope.

Roy-Boynton says both hospitals in Dubuque have 24 hour emergency room services and help for people with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Click here for the U of I's injury prevention report.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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