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Researchers found that the number of suicides more than quadrupled in the United States between 2008 and 2010.
The study found that an estimated 1,500 additional suicides have taken place in the US every year since 2007 compared to the number that would have been expected if trends from the previous decade had continued. The research is published today in The Lancet.
Aaron Reeves of the University of Cambridge who led the research said that the data followed trends in other countries which have been hit hard by the economic crisis.
“In the run-up to the US Presidential election, President Obama and Mitt Romney are debating how best to spur economic recovery,” he said.
“Missing from this discussion is consideration of how to protect Americans’ health during these hard times. Suicide is a rare outcome of mental illness, but this means that these data are likely the most visible indicator of major depression and anxiety disorders among people living through the financial crisis, as revealed by recent research in Spain and Greece”.
The study also echoes similar research in Ireland which has found that suicide rates have increased as the economy has tumbled and unemployment rates have increased. Figures from the Central Statistics Office show 525 people took their own lives in Ireland in 2011, an increase of 7 per cent on the previous year.
A recent study by the National Suicide Research Foundation examined almost 200 cases of suicide in Cork over three years and found that the recession has had a direct impact on suicide rates. Almost one third of suicide victims had worked in construction or related areas which have been disproportionately affected by the downturn. Almost 40 per cent of suicide victims in the study were unemployed.
The authors of the report on the US suicide rates pointed out that some countries such as Sweden have managed to avoid increased rates of suicide during the economic downturn, suggesting that some countries have been better at promoting mental health resilience during difficult times.
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Selected Online First articles from The Lancet journals ahead of print publication.
- Increase in state suicide rates in the USA during economic recessionCorrespondence The Lancet (online November 5)
Increase in state suicide rates in the USA during economic recession - GS
suicide unemployment - GS
suicide unemployment loss of social status - GS
suicide loss of social status - GS
You +1'd this publicly. Undo14 Aug 2012 – Male suicides increased by 3.6% as joblessness rose 25%, with unemployment ... on their lives of the economic recession, according to a new analysis. ... She said: "This research gives us credible evidence that the suicide rate in England is ... policies can mitigate the increase in suicide during recession.
Male suicides increased by 3.6% as joblessness rose 25%, with unemployment linked to 1,000 deaths from 2008-10
Sarah Boseley, health editor