My parents are in their eighties now and they both have vivid memories of The Great Depression during their childhood. If you've ever wondered why people of that generation are so careful with their money, that's why. I'm sure that they saw a lot of things that they never talked about. And the most important thing was then, as it is now, caring for your family.
There was something that was jokingly referred to as a "depression divorce". That meant a man who had been looking for work for a long time, giving up and just walking away. For a man to be unable to care for his family must have been devastating. As is always the case with families, there is usually a lot more to it, but my understanding is that this is what my paternal grandfather did.