Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2023). 44(3), 209–215. SIEC No: 20231357
Background: Not much is known about whether paying unpaid debt is related to a reduced risk of suicidal behavior. Aims: To examine whether nonfatal suicide attempt varied by status of nonpayment of debt as registered at the Swedish Enforcement Authority (SEA). Method: People aged between 20 and 64 years with a registration date for an unpaid debt at the SEA during 2016 (n = 57,039) and registered as either active or inactive for a debt and/or a decision of debt reconstruction in the register in 2018 were followed up for a 2-year period for suicide attempt and compared with a sample from the general Swedish population (n = 301,714). Results: Those who were still active for a debt and/or a decision of debt reconstruction were about twice (Odds Ratio = 2.21) as likely to attempt suicide than those who no longer had an active debt in the SEA register. Limitations: The study was limited to suicide attempts that were registered as such in the National Patient Register. Conclusion: The results, based on unique nationwide register data, reinforce the importance of making tackling debt and financial distress part of current suicide prevention strategies. Professionals and others who interact with indebted people may be important gatekeepers in preventing suicide attempts.