High-profile suicides reveal acute pain of crisis

Fri May 1, 2009 3:29am EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - High-profile suicides like that of the finance chief at embattled Freddie Mac highlight the dangers that an economic crisis poses to the powerful as well as the vulnerable, experts say.

The fear of losing a powerful job, battling to keep a company afloat or working long hours with no help are taking a heavy toll on people at the heart of the recession, they say.

David Kellermann, named acting chief financial officer at Freddie Mac after more than 16 years at the mortgage finance company, was found hanging in the basement of his Virginia home last week.

Friends said he had been working long hours after the U.S. housing market crashed and the mortgage giant was taken over by the government last year.

Kellermann's story typifies the experiences of many in the troubled financial world, said Dr. Shelley Reciniello, a psychologist experienced in counseling Wall Street executives.

"Their worlds are basically crumbling," she said. "Everything that they had hoped for and really seemed within their grasp over the last 20 years or so is ending."

At the heart of it, she said, "there's a disparity between who you want to be, who you thought you were and who people are telling you are today, and that hurts like hell."


<p>Fairfax County Police spokesman Officer Eddy Azcarate gives a television interview outside the home where David Kellermann, acting chief financial officer of mortgage giant Freddie Mac, was found dead on Wednesday in Vienna, Virginia, April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst</p>