Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Study links recession to rising suicides

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal, Suicides associated with the 2008-10 economic recession in England: time trend analysis, has found that a painful double-dip recession, rising unemployment and biting austerity measures may have already driven more than 1,000 people in the UK to commit suicide in the past two years.

Study lead David Stuckler from Cambridge University explained:  "Much of men's identity and sense of purpose is tied up with having a job. It brings income, status and importance. There's also a pattern in the UK where men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, while women are much more likely to report being depressed and seek help."

The analysis found that between 2008 and 2010 there were 846 more suicides among men in England than would have been expected if previous trends continued, and 155 more among women.

Between 2000 and 2010 each annual 10 percent increase in the number of unemployed people was associated with a 1.4 percent increase in the number of male suicides, the study found.

These findings suggest that about two fifths of the recent increase in suicides among men (increase of 329 suicides, 126 to 532) during the 2008-10 recession can be attributed to rising unemployment.  

The study provides evidence linking the recent increase in suicides in England with the financial crisis that began in 2008. English regions with the largest rises in unemployment have had the largest increases in suicides, particularly among men.

You can read the full study here.

Earlier this month data from the government's Health and Social Care Information Centre showed the number of prescriptions dispensed in England for antidepressants rose 9.1 percent in 2010.

A study published last July, also by Stuckler, found that across Europe, suicide rates rose sharply from 2007 to 2009 as the financial crisis drove unemployment up and squeezed incomes.

More on this report here

The countries worst hit by severe economic downturns, such as Greece and Ireland, saw the most dramatic increases in suicides.

World Health Organisation estimates suggest that nearly a million people die from suicide every year at a rate of one every 40 seconds.

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