Some people can take losing a job in stride, but Silvia Martinez isn’t one of them. When she lost her $52,000-a-year human resources job, the Virginia woman was too ashamed to tell anyone and sank into a deep depression. “I apply for jobs and apply for jobs and no one calls,” she tells NPR. Eventually, she attempted suicide. Sadly, Martinez isn’t alone, experts warn.
A Northern Virginia suicide hotline—the one Martinez called—is getting 270 calls a month, a 77% increase from last year, according to their latest statistics. Those triggered by financial hardships are up 40%. The calls cross the economic spectrum, from a man concerned about a family member who lost millions, to a poor single mother dangerously close to homelessness. “We’re hearing more now,” said one hotline manager. “It’s very different than it was.”