MoneyWise Live


Mitch Anthony on Suicide Prevention

July 23, 2018

The recent suicides of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade shocked the nation. Financial planner and teacher Rob West and suicide prevention author Mitch Anthony talk about the role finances play in taking one’s life.

Mitch Anthony joins MoneyWise Live to help make sense of all this.  Mitch has a long history of working with troubled individuals.  He started one of the first suicide prevention hotlines in the 80s and is the author of the books "7 Reasons to Keep on Living" and "Crossing that Bridge".

So many people tell us that their lives would be so much better if they just had more money.  The two celebrity suicides clearly show that’s not the case.

Points to ponder:

  • The only people who know what money cannot do are people who have it.  These people had money and they recognized that it couldn't solve the internal issues.
  • The more successful someone is, the less likely they are to reveal your troubles and pain because you're an icon.

Rob West - Money and possessions do play a role in suicide.  Mitch, you started your hotline during the farming crisis in the 80s and we also saw a spike in suicide rates during the Great Recession... 

Mitch Anthony - Yes, when we got the suicide host line up and running, we had nine farmers call in on the first day and everyone of them considering suicide was doing so because they had made a poorly informed and unwise financial decision.  They wrapped up they entire identity in what they did for a living and their supposed success on the surface.   It also had to do with disappointing others since the farms had been in the family for 3-4 generations, it was more than just losing a job.

Rob West - Now is that because too many people link their identity with financial success?  Some people connect their self worth to their net worth.  For someone who has spent a lot of time around problems like this, what is your message?

Mitch Anthony - No message is more powerful than Jesus on this topic when he said "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of things..." and "What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul..."  What's the money for?  If it's to take care of the people you love, then that's the point.  So many people put the focus on the net worth instead of realizing their real worth in this world is loving the people God has put in your life and suicide is not a way to love people. 

Rob West - You talk about the sources of discouragement and have broken them down into three major areas?

Mitch Anthony - Source of discouragement:

  • Failure?  You made a mistake.  Admit and ask for forgiveness.
  • Disappointment?  You put your best put forward and someone might have got in your way and discouraged you.  Answer is forgiveness.
  • Adversity?  When there are things that we cannot control, that's when we really need God.  Answer is Faith.  

Rob West - Tell us about your book, "7 Reasons to Keep on Living" what do you want people to know?  If you know someone who could be considering suicide, what do you want them to know? 

Mitch Anthony - 

  • Let them know that feeling this way is not all that uncommon.
  • Ask them "how serious are these thoughts?"  If their plan is detailed and granular, the risk is high.
  • Don't be afraid to start a conversation with them.  Getting people to talk about the topic really helps.  Darkness only holds it's power when held in secret.

Some suicide resources available - 

Next, Rob and Steve tackle listener questions at 800-525-7000 and via email to Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org on a variety of topics:

  • What should you do if you're feeling distraught because you're 67 years old and have no way to pay for your house?
  • Since it's generally recommend you don't co-sign a loan, is it OK to co-sign a loan with your spouse?
  • If you have an opportunity to boy some property, have some money in IRAs, in savings and life insurance and your first mortgage is paid, what would be the best way to fund this purchase?
  • How much liability insurance should you really have?  Are the minimums enough?
    How does considering others more important than ourselves relate to our investing?
  • If you have some extra money to put toward a car loan, does it matter when you pay that principal reduction payment?
  • Does a recently reduced income affect your credit score?

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