Support for the Unemployed and Depressed (Suicidal)

By Karen O’Connor:


Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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 blogging4jobs.com suggests the following:

  • Be Supportive.  There are more than 27.3 million unemployed (via SHRM.org) 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.”

Stopping Fear Syndrome

By Pat Ennis:

Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.”( Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, 2nd ed.)

We live in a fear dominated world—serious illness, weight gain, financial reversal, old age, death, rejection, and fear of man are all categories of fear that cause a focus away from God and toward circumstances.

Fear is real and it is not always negative—when you sense danger, fear usually stimulates you to fight or flee.  However, often the consequences are not positive—for example, fear can . . .

  • Hinder your relationship with others.
  • Stifle your ability to think rationally.
  • Rob you of joy.
  • Injure your relationship with God.
  • Create inner turmoil that can eventually lead to thoughts of suicide.

Since the presence of fear produces such detrimental results, it seems reasonable to locate an antidote to it. Scripture teaches that God’s Word is sufficient to override your fears.

  • The natural reaction to fear is panic. The antidote is to replace potential fear with trust in God (Psalm 56:3-4, 11).
  • Since God comforts you, why should you be afraid (Isaiah 51: 12-16)?
  • You can be content in every circumstance because God has promised to never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6).

As you meditate upon the reality that Scripture constantly urges God’s children to trust rather than fear, consider this account that was shared by an African missionary about a herd of lions:

This particular story is about the old king.  You see a lion can only be the king as long as he is strong enough to hold his position— and there is always another lion trying to usurp it.  Usually by the time the old king is replaced he does not have any teeth and only a few claws.  His hair is matted, he has arthritis in the joints, and he no longer can fight to keep his position so a younger lion becomes the new king.

However, the old king is not entirely useless—he still has a role in the herd when the lions go on a hunt.  When the herd hunts, the old, mean-looking, ferocious lion stands on one side while the young hunter lions hide in the bushes on the opposite side.  When the prey appears, the former king looks at it and begins to roar; the roar scares the prey so badly that it runs to the opposite side—right into the waiting jaws of the hunter lions that attack and destroy it.  If the prey had run toward the roar, more than likely it would have been safe, since all the old lion had left was his roar.

The only positive fear recorded in scripture is the fear of God.  This fear is a reverence of God’s majesty, power, and greatness.  When you choose to “run to the roar” you will most likely find the influence of the fear dissolving.

Holding On to Hope When You Want to Die

By Karen O’Connor 

“I am so sorry for the horrible mistakes I made,” said Tony, a man in his early 70s.  His past included an affair that separated him from his wife and daughter, drinking, drugs, and loss of employment. He lived in an abandoned house for a time because he had nowhere to go and no money to start over. “It’s pretty hard to do anything positive when you want to die,” he added. “I started thinking about suicide. I figured no one would miss me.”

But Tony was wrong. Someone would miss him, had missed him for years—his daughter Jane whom he hadn’t seen in ten years. She searched until she found him at a shelter in the city where he’d last lived. They reconnected and Tony became willing to get the help he needed. He went into a recovery program and Jane visited him every day for three months.

“She was my lifeline,” Tony said with tears in his eyes. “I have a long way to go but now I have hope. Jane led me back to church and we’re getting to know each other. I’m learning to focus on what we have, instead of the mess I made.”

Tony admitted that for most of his life he’d been looking for love in all the wrong places.  Now he knows that only God can provide what he needs. “The most important thing to me today,” he said, “is to show my daughter that even though I went to the bottom rung, by God’s grace and her love, I have hope. When you want to die, hope seems like a dream, but when you let God lead you, it’s real.”

Be inspired with this YouTube video, featuring music from Company of Saints, to encourage and give hope when you feel hopeless.