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The grimmest human carnage of the housing crash is beginning to emerge as a new federal study shows foreclosure-related suicides spiked by 253 percent between 2005 and 2010. Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the suicides of homeowners from 16 states who were in the process of losing their homes to foreclosure or already had been booted from the premises. In 2010, the number of such ex-homeowners who took their lives was 106, up from 30 in 2005.
“Foreclosure may be exceptionally stressful, because it is very protracted and consists of multiple negative events,” said Katherine A. Fowler, a CDC researcher and lead author. “… Other studies show that people tend to become more depressed about negative life events for which they feel personally responsible, and for which they can’t control the outcome.” One promising trend following those tragedies: June marked the lowest level of foreclosure filings — 107,194 — since July 2006, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure sales and analytics company.
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- Bill Briggs