Support for the Unemployed and Depressed (Suicidal)

By Karen O’Connor:

Image: Stuart Miles /

According to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, writing in the New York Times Sunday Review:

“The prospects for the re-employment of older workers deteriorate sharply the longer they are unemployed . . . ” This is all the more reason to support the unemployed and depressed who threaten suicide.

The authors referred in their column to a paper by the economists Daniel Sullivan and Till von Wachter.

“A recent study found that a 10 percent increase in the unemployment rate (say from 8 to 8.8 percent) would increase the suicide rate for males by 1.47 percent. Assuming a link of that scale, the increase in unemployment would lead to an additional 128 suicides per month in the United States.”

The authors urge policy makers to recognize this emergency, and to fashion a comprehensive re-employment policy that focuses on the specific needs of the long-term unemployed. “. . . spend money to help expand public and private training programs with proven track records; expand entrepreneurial opportunities by increasing access to small-business financing; reduce government hurdles to the formation of new businesses; and explore subsidies for private employers who hire the long-term unemployed.”

How can we as individuals support support the unemployed who threaten suicide. over their jobless state?

Author Jessica Miller-Merrell in a column on suggests the following:

  • Be Supportive.  There are more than 27.3 million unemployed (via out there many of whom have exhausted their unemployment benefits or given up altogether.  Provide them an ear to listen before your mouth suggests to them a solution.
  • Help a Job Seeker.  Offer to evaluate a resume or provide mock interview feedback. By giving the job seeker a moment of your time, you provide hope and help.
  • Treat Them with Dignity.  Job seekers who are displaced and out of work are people too.  Talk to them. Get to know them, and remember that more than 27.3 million are unemployed.

It’s the little things that matter.  Meeting your friend for coffee just to check in, helping them update their LinkedIn profile, or calling just say hello.  I promise there is life after unemployment.”

And more than ever, the unemployed need our prayers and spiritual support. These verses from the Bible can be a start on the road from suicides among the unemployed, to the road of hope in God.

Anyone who is among the living has hope. Ecclesiastes 9:4

No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame. Psalm 25:3

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:18, 19

View and share this excellent YouTube video from Joel Osteen, “God is in Control.”

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If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432).
Our blog, Thinking About Suicide, offers personal stories and prayers from those who have overcome the urge to commit suicide or lost someone to suicide. We also list resources related to depression, bullying, cutting and other mental health related topics or news.
Use our SEARCH box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics. Our authors hope to encourage you and remind you that others in situations like yours have found hope and help. We hope and pray you do too. However, we also encourage you to get local help if you are suicidal: call a counselor or the suicide prevention hotline to connect personally with someone who can help you.


  1. jeff smith says:

    Nonsense. God has simply marked out some of us for destruction through unemployment or
    severe undermeployment. In my case, 14 months and counting, since I got three college degrees. It will never get better, and no one can explain it.

    • says:

      Jeff, we are so sorry you are feeling so discouraged about your unemployment and are lacking hope. I (one of the volunteers for this site) do know how that feels, having unemployment touch our own family at various times (married 33 years). Only one thing I am sure of—and that is that God does NOT mark out people through this process for destruction—instead, I truly believe God is loving, caring, and does have long-range plans for each of us—for good, if we are willing to trust Him.

      Through the benefit of hindsight, we’ve been able to clearly see how God has put us in certain places at certain times. Sometimes the wait has been long and discouraging, only to discover later that for a certain job to appear for us God has had to do quite a bit of background orchestrating (creating a chain reaction, resulting in our getting that particular job).

      Sometimes that’s because God has been answering other people’s prayers at the same time. For example, in one case a man (Joel) had been praying to pull together investors to open a factory, at the same time my husband had been praying for a job working for him. After about a year, one strange day my husband felt compelled to call Joel, who was astonished because that same day funding had come through and he had planned to call my husband. He ended up working for Joel for quite a few years, until that company sold and we had to make a new change. Each time we have made a change, we have moved to another state (at one time, even another country), and each time on our arrival we have seen amazing signs of confirmation that we were where we were supposed to be.

      Trusting your future to God can be very difficult when bills are mounting and there seems to be no job in site or perhaps even no home. We know how that feels, and it can be a scary place to be in. But every time we have chosen to choose faith over fear, and trust over hopelessness, we have seen the hand of God in our lives. Sometimes that has only happened when we’ve reached points of desperation, so that when the answer came it was clearly from God. When we get what we want too easily, it’s natural to not acknowledge and credit him with the results, instead crediting our own efforts.

      I am certain that if you put your faith in Jesus Christ, and lift up to him each and every discouraging circumstance, you will begin to see Him at work in your life. It may not mean getting a job you want tomorrow, but it will mean that when you do find work you will look back and realize that you are in a place God intended you to be.

      • G. David says:

        No job, injured, phone’s down, computer crashed..oh and rent is overdue..

        • Thinking About Suicide says:

          A lot of us can relate. Everyone is praying for you!

        • Thinking About Suicide says:

          Hi David,
          My goodness!! Know we are all praying for you. But you can walk out of
          this, one step at a time. Just do the one thing you can do toward your
          recovery, then the next opportunity will present itself, then the next.

          I’m praying that God will direct your path and point you to complete
          recovery. In times like this, it may seem that things can’t get better.
          But they can.
          We care!

  2. jeff smith says:


    Laws of life:

    Bad things happen to good people.

    Good things happen to bad people.

    Really good things happen to the shallow and greedy.

    • says:


      Yes, bad things happen to good people. But that makes good people compassionate and able to experience empathy, to be able at some point to encourage others. And yes, good things happen to bad people–but I do believe there is an accounting in the end.

      Anyone who believes and subscribes to the notion that if you become shallow and greedy good things will happen to you, will certainly miss out on the ability to see God’s blessings and direction in their life. The shallow and greedy may make a lot of money (if that’s what you mean by really good things) but in the end many are heartbroken, dissatisfied people with trails of broken relationships and in the end realize their lives lacked true meaning.

      Adding a note to my last comment about our friend/boss Joel–it may interest you to know that we had not even spoken to him or been in any communication with him for a full year, and had no idea he was seeking investors for his start-up factory. My husband had worked with him a few years before and only knew that Joel had a dream, and my husband knew he’d love to work with him again someday. But God knew all along that my husband was destined to manage that operation for at least 12 years–He saw that in our future even when we couldn’t even imagine it. We are now in a different place, and our job situation may change yet again–but we fully believe God is in control and it adds an element of excitement instead of panic and uncertainty.


      • Napoleon Smith says:

        I tried all that and ended up living on the street for six months. The local shelter, believe it or not, would have been a worse choice.

        As for the affluent feeling deeply unfulfilled: not my experience. They do just fine with their houses and cars and custom-made golf clubs, and I don’t see any misery (which doesn’t mean there isn’t any, I know). Neither was it unusual for them to laugh at or catcall me when I was on the street with the one can of soup I had a day courtesy of food stamps. One tries to not let the heart harden but in the face of such disparity between the shallow rich and the someon-e-with-substance-and-yet-with nothing, it’s almost impossible.

        And at my age, no, it will never get better.

        • Thinking About Suicide says:

          So sorry to hear you are going through so much and that you’ve even encountered bullies in your difficulties. And you are right, so much about life is not fair, but that doesn’t mean that God has abandoned you.
          King David, before he became king, was a lot like you. He had to hide in caves with nothing but lack because King Saul wanted to take his life. David’s solution was to continue to call out to God for help. David stayed alive because of his calls to the Lord, and because of God’s continuous daily provision.
          If God did this for David, he will do it for you. Keep calling out to him for help. And he will keep providing, even if it’s only a can of soup. But there is one more step that David did, even in his worse days, which were much like your own.
          He found things to thank God for.
          Try it.
          Come up with one thing you can thank God for every day, and really thank God.
          This is how you will get through this season of your life. And you will see God continue to provide for you.

          I am praying for you. And praying that God will continue to send you provision and teach you how to seek and thank him; even when it seems like you have so little.

          For the riches of a grateful heart far outshine the riches of those who are the miserable rich who will have to face God in their poverty of soul and their sins of greed and mockery.
          How much better to face God with lack and the riches of thankfulness.
          If you do not yet know God in the way I’ve tried to describe, please check out:
          Praying for you,

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