Suicides after the Crisis

The Irish Times reports on a British Medical Journal article regarding international suicide rates in 2009, compared to the expected rates based on suicides between 2000-2007.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/economic-crisis-linked-to-100-additional-suicides-in-state-by-international-study-1.1531208

The study is available here: http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5239

Abstract below the fold:

Objective To investigate the impact of the 2008 global economic crisis on international trends in suicide and to identify sex/age groups and countries most affected.

Design Time trend analysis comparing the actual number of suicides in 2009 with the number that would be expected based on trends before the crisis (2000-07).

Setting Suicide data from 54 countries; for 53 data were available in the World Health Organization mortality database and for one (the United States) data came the CDC online database.

Population People aged 15 or above.

Main outcome measures Suicide rate and number of excess suicides in 2009.

Results There were an estimated 4884 (95% confidence interval 3907 to 5860) excess suicides in 2009 compared with the number expected based on previous trends (2000-07). The increases in suicide mainly occurred in men in the 27 European and 18 American countries; the suicide rates were 4.2% (3.4% to 5.1%) and 6.4% (5.4% to 7.5%) higher, respectively, in 2009 than expected if earlier trends had continued. For women, there was no change in European countries and the increase in the Americas was smaller than in men (2.3%). Rises in European men were highest in those aged 15-24 (11.7%), while in American countries men aged 45-64 showed the largest increase (5.2%). Rises in national suicide rates in men seemed to be associated with the magnitude of increases in unemployment, particularly in countries with low levels of unemployment before the crisis (Spearman’s rs=0.48).

Conclusions After the 2008 economic crisis, rates of suicide increased in the European and American countries studied, particularly in men and in countries with higher levels of job loss.

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5 thoughts on “Suicides after the Crisis”

  1. Another side to the crisis, however I always tended to view suicide as something which is wrong with the person’s environment, as distinct from something that is wrong with the person themselves.

  2. “Conclusions: After the 2008 economic crisis, rates of suicide increased in the European and American countries studied, particularly in men and in countries with higher levels of job loss.”

    The logical follow on is that people who see increased unemployment as a necessary economic lever to ‘growth’, without fully considering alternative courses of action, are by inference accepting policies that they know will increase death by suicide.

    One wonders why GDP growth has become the primary goal in EZ economics and not other economic and social measurements that are more reflective of a stable and healthy society.

  3. You ain’t seen nothing yet. The last suicides were the fickle souls. The next crash, maybe just around the corner if the US defaults in October (and an avalanche of France, Greece, Portugal, Argentine and God knows who with it) will kill even the hardened souls. It was a shock last time as it seemed to come out of the blue. But this time it hits those harder who believe the worst was over. Q.v. the first World Ward ended wars forever. The bigger shock then was the second soon after that …

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