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Suicide Rates of Young Male Unemployed Workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan Soar in Oil Bust

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EIRNS —Suicide rates have exploded among laid-off workers in Canadian oil fields in Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces in recent months, increasing by 30 percent in the first six months of 2015, as compared to the first six months of 2014, according to Alberta’s chief medical examiner. In Saskatchewan, the rate is even higher, with 19% more suicides this year than in 2014.

American statesman Lyndon LaRouche has long warned of the crash of the worthless paper of London and Wall Street, and pointed to the thousands, and perhaps millions, of middle-aged, active people driven out of the workforce, turning to drugs, driving the recent spike in the suicide rates. LaRouche pointed to the exemplary case of the Italian citizen who committed suicide last week, after his life’s savings were stolen in a bail-in.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation this week has published a story correlating Alberta’s suicides with the oil field collapse. Mara Grunau, who heads the Centre for Suicide Prevention, said,

"This is staggering. It’s far more, far exceeds anything we would have expected."

This year, calls to the Calgary Distress Centre have changed tone, and become more frequent, said counsellor David Kirby.

"For me it says something about the horrible human impact of what’s happening in the economy."

Demand for counselling services has increased by 80%, Kirby said. Another Distress Centre worker, Nancy Bergeron, said, "People are just at wit’s end, and they’re contemplating it, right?"

Suicides in Canada’s oil-producing Saskatchewan province are reported by The Guardian to be even higher; it gives no specifics.

The Guardian’s Edward Mouallem on Dec. 14 reported from Edmonton on the economic background to the suicides.

Since the collapse of the price of petroleum at the end of 2014, 40,000 oil jobs have been eliminated. Just two years ago, Alberta accounted for 87% of all new jobs (net) in Canada. The Guardian cites the case of a 26-year-old oil worker who never finished high school and was earning as much as $5,000/month. In February, he was laid off, and within a few months, he and his girlfriend were homeless, living with his parents, and he was failing to pay child support. He had sent out several hundred resumes, and was turned down for a job at MacDonald’s. One social worker told The Guardian,

"I talked to several people laid off after going through various concessions to keep their job, but the economy turned too quickly. Now they’re having to downsize, change cities, and dispose of all their toys, like their big trucks and Ski-doos, but nobody wants to buy that stuff because they can’t afford it, either."

CBC reports Mara Grunau of the Centre for Suicide Prevention saying that for every 1-percent increase in unemployment, there will be a 0.79-percent increase in suicide rates, but it takes two years for the data to appear.

In Alberta, 75 percent of all suicides are male, and the vast majority of victims are under 55. Gladys Blackmore, Executive Director of Men at Risk, believes that many of the recent suicides are young male workers living high-risk lifestyles in work camps, where they "fly in/fly out" for up to 24 days at a time.