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: Higher foreclosure and suicide rates linked
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Jul 1st 2014
When the recession hit back in 2008, the foreclosure crisis was just one of the outcomes. And while the recession has past and the housing market is recovering, thousands of Americans are still in danger of losing their homes. Six years later, researchers are still learning about the economic and social impact that losing a home can cause. For instance, a number of studies have shown connections between foreclosure and physical and psychological problems. Even more recently, a study suggests a link between higher foreclosure rates and higher suicide rates.
Two sociology professors, Jason Houle from Dartmouth College, and Michael Light, from Purdue University recently published a study that examined statistics regarding foreclosure, unemployment, and suicide rates. The results were alarming. The study concluded that even when taking into account other socioeconomic factors such as unemployment, a higher foreclosure rate was still linked to a higher suicide rate. Across the nation the states with the highest foreclosure rates tended to have the highest suicide rates as well.
Middle aged at greater risk
One of the most interesting discoveries in the study was which demographic experienced the greatest increase in suicide rate. While it isn't surprising to see an increase in suicide during an economic downturn, it is much more common to see an increase in the suicide rate of the elderly. This study found that the suicide rate had increased most dramatically in the middle aged group most likely because they were the most likely to own a home and still have a mortgage to pay off. The study claims that foreclosure probably accounts for approximately 20% of the suicide rate increase. The other 80% of the increase was a result of other socioeconomic factors like a higher unemployment rate.
According to Houle and Light, “"losing key assets and wealth close to retirement age is likely to have a profound effect on the mental health and well-being.” Indeed the situation can seem hopeless when foreclosure is looming. However, there is help available. If you've exhausted your options such as a loan modification or short sale, an experienced attorney may be able to assist you in getting your bank to work out an arrangement that will allow you to stay in your home.
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