A new study claims the economic downtown, or the Great Recession, caused more than 10,000 suicides in North America and Europe.
Between 2007 and 2010, the study found, suicides increased by 4.5 percent in Canada, 4.8 percent in the United States and 6.5 percent in the European Union, resulting in about 10,000 more suicides than usual.
The study, performed by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, used information from the World Health Organization. The researchers report rates were also four times higher among men. (Via Voice of America)
The study explains that job loss, home foreclosure and debt are leading causes of suicide during an economic downturn. (Via WSTM)
David Stuckler, the study's co-author, told Al Jazeera: "Suicides are just the tip of the iceberg. This data reveals a looming mental health crisis in Europe and North America. In these hard economic times, this research suggests it is critical to look for ways of protecting those who are likely to be hardest hit."
The study suggests nations that invest more into assistance for the unemployed to reduce the risk of suicide. The authors estimate that for every $100 invested, suicide risk is lowered by 0.4 percent. (Via University of Oxford)
Struckler says Sweden was one country who had strong support for the unemployed, or those who were struggling financially, and their suicide rate did not rise during the recession.
A professor of epidemiology at Columbia University not associated with the study said the findings have important implications for policy makers. "The social welfare aspects of economic downturns like this can't be ignored. When our economic belts get a little too tight, we shouldn't be cutting things that help the average Joe." (Via USA Today)
This latest study seems to reinforce the findings of another, smaller-scaled study from earlier this year from University of Portsmouth that links spending cuts in Greece to more than 500 male suicides between 2009 and 2010.
Aaron Reeves, a researcher on this most recent, says the data points out that rising suicide rates might not be inevitable seeing that they weren't observed everywhere.