Housing crisis a big issue for suicide helpline

An increasing number of people are becoming suicidal as a result of the housing crisis, a charity has warned.

According to the national suicide prevention charity, Console, its 24-hour helpline has been receiving an increasing number of calls in recent months from people who simply cannot cope as a result of their housing situation.

"Our free 24-hour helpline receives around 3,400 calls a month, but over the last six months we have noticed an ever increasing upward trend in the amount of people calling due to the housing crisis.

"Unfortunately, in many cases we are now dealing with the aftermath and providing bereavement counselling in our centres nationwide to families after a person has taken their own life," commented Console CEO and founder, Paul Kelly.

He explained that Console staff are trained to identify high-risk cases where there is suicidal ideation (thoughts) and the charity is currently seeing ‘ever increasing amounts of people in pre or post-repossession crisis at high risk of taking their own lives'.

"Callers in this area tend to be those who have lost their homes, those in high mortgage arrears, those facing foreclosure and those struggling to deal with high rents that they cannot afford. We are dealing with calls from people from all walks of life who have been unexpectedly thrown into a financial black hole that they can't find a way out of," Mr Kelly said.

He pointed out that many people feel paralysed by their situation and cannot function under the strain of their worries.

"People tell us they can't sleep at night, they are having panic attacks and don't want to wake up in the morning for fear of the dreaded letter coming in through the post. There is no doubt that the housing crisis is having a detrimental impact on people's self worth and on their mental health and wellbeing," Mr Kelly insisted.

He noted that some of the calls are coming from people who have already lost their homes and are now living in hotels.

"Their children are travelling for hours every morning to school, they have no facilities to cook, their family life is uncertain from day to day, and many say that they simply can't take any more. Some families are spiralling into depression as a whole, even people who were once very strong and very successful," he explained.

He insisted that nobody is immune from this issue. The charity has dealt with people from all walks of life, including some who previously ran large, successful companies.

Mr Kelly noted that many callers on this subject are men, ‘for whom the concept of picking up the phone to talk to a suicide prevention helpline is often the ultimate sign of failure'.

"We are finding that they are mainly ringing because there is a huge strain on the relationship, and in many cases, alcohol has been used in the early stages of dealing with the spiralling depression. The calls are very human - they are about rows, pressure and living in fear."

Console's 24-hour helpline is free of charge - call 1800 247 247. The charity also runs counselling centres nationwide. For more information, click here


[Posted: Tue 29/03/2016]

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