One in two recently evicted mothers reports multiple symptoms of clinical depression, double the rate of similar mothers who were not forced from their homes. Even after years pass, evicted mothers are less happy, energetic, and optimistic than their peers. When several patients committed suicide in the days leading up to their eviction, a group of psychiatrists published a letter in Psychiatric Services, identifying eviction as a “significant precursor of suicide.” The letter emphasized that none of the patients were facing homelessness, leading the psychiatrists to attribute the suicides to eviction itself. “Eviction must be considered a traumatic rejection,” they wrote, “a denial of one’s most basic human needs, and an exquisitely shameful experience.” Suicides attributed to evictions and foreclosures doubled between 2005 and 2010, years when housing costs soared.
~ Matthew Desmond