Stress And Suicide In Hard Times: How People Really React

11/10/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The economy is in bad shape, as the pundits have coined it, "from Wall Street to Main Street." Anyone following the news has some idea of what that may mean for their retirement savings and home loans, but what about the less obvious effects of social and economic hardship?

The more subtle effects are often quite unexpected--and sometimes counterintuitive. For example, while money troubles may evoke visions of penniless and desperate Wall Street investors jumping to their deaths during the Great Depression, that is actually a myth.

Loren Coleman, an expert on suicides and author of "The Copycat Effect," notes that suicides actually decrease during times of social and economic stress: "Historical studies conducted by sociologist Steven Stack and others have discovered a noticeable dip in suicides and related violent events when there is society-wide anguish, for example, in times of massive immediate grieving in periods of wars and economic depressions."

Though hard times may not drive you to suicide, the stress they create can be dangerous.

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