Between 2007 and
2010, at least 10,000 more Americans and Europeans died of suicide than during
the booming economic times of the previous few years.
In view of the fact
that the rise in suicide rates was much higher than anticipated and there were
substantial variations in suicide rates across countries, the researchers
believe some of the suicides were "potentially avoidable."
a fairly large and substantial increase over what we would have expected,"
said Aaron Reeves, the research lead and a sociologist and post-doctoral
researcher at the University of Oxford in England. "They are, broadly
speaking, large mental health implications of the economic crisis that are
still being felt by many people."
In Canada, between
2007 and 2010, the suicide rate increased by 4.5 percent or about 240 suicides
more than estimated. In the U.S.A, the
rate rose by 4.8 percent over the same time period.
In Europe, before
2007, suicide rates had been dropping, but by 2009, there was an upward trend
in suicide rates. The rates rose by 6.5
percent and the trend continued through 2011.
just the tip of the iceberg. These data reveal 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," study co-author Prof. David Stuckler of Oxford said
in a release.
Reeves advocates three
methods that may be helpful during economic downturns. They are effective treatment for clinical
depression, return to work programs and greater gender equality in the
The researchers urged
psychiatrists to address the issue of macro-economic policies negatively impacting
the health of their patients and support prevention.
will continue to hurt, but need not cause self-harm," they concluded.