Financial crisis and unemployment may be cause of suicide surge
RECESSION and rising unemployment may have led to more than 1,000 suicides in England between 2008 and 2010, a study has found.
An estimated 846 more men and 155 more women killed themselves than would have been expected had previous trends continued, researchers said.
For each 10 per cent increase in the number of unemployed men, there was a significant 1.4 per cent increase in male suicides.
The scientists calculated the number of additional suicides attributable to the recession by comparing historical records. Suicide data covering 93 English regions were taken from the National Clinical and Health Outcomes Database.
Rates from 2008 onwards were compared with predicted estimates if the decline in suicides seen before the recession hit had continued.
A second step in the analysis assessed the association between job losses and suicides.
For each year from 2008 to 2010, the number of unemployed men across the UK rose by 25.6 per cent.
This was associated with a yearly increase in male suicides of 3.6 per cent, corresponding to 329 suicides attributable to unemployment.
The authors, led by Ben Barr, from the University of Liverpool, wrote in the British Medical Journal: “Our study estimated that the recent recession in the UK has led to about 1,000 excess suicides in England: 846 among men and 155 among women.
“Our analysis indicates that increases in male unemployment were associated with about two fifths of these rises in suicides among men in England during the current recession.
“On its own, our study cannot ascertain whether the association between job loss and suicides is causal.”
A small reduction in suicides in 2010 coincided with a slight recovery in male unemployment that year, the study found.
JOHN VON RADOWITZ
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