Utne Blogs > Politics

The Foreclosure Suicides

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Politics, forclosures, economic crisis, suicide,

Desperation over the financial crisis has driven some of the economy’s most unfortunate victims to suicide. The New Yorker recently profiled Addie Polk, a 90-year-old widow from Akron, Ohio, who shot herself after a police officer showed up to assist in the foreclosure of her home. Polk survived the self-inflicted wound, and was rushed to a local hospital to recover. When Dennis Kucinich caught word of Polk’s situation, Peter J. Boyer writes that the Ohio congressman sprang into action, talking about her on the floor of Congress and pressuring Fannie Mae to forgive her debts. Many others around the country haven’t been so lucky.

“Rates of stress, depression, and suicide invariably climb in times of economic turmoil,” Nick Turse wrote for TomDispatch.com. Though much of the evidence for the rising suicide rate is anecdotal, Turse provides a long list of suicide attempts in response to the economic downturn. Instead of the high-flying Wall Street executives who played the stock market and lost, most of these stories involve the nation’s poor who have lost their homes.