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Economic Crisis: Causing Suicide Rates to Rise?

Is the Collapsing Market Building Up Suicide Rates?

SuicideCould the collapse of the US credit and housing markets in 2008 be linked to increasing suicide rates? Recently, the British Medical Journal sat down and looked at the data from 54 countries to assess the impact of financial problems on suicide rates.[1]

It is no secret that in 2009, unemployment rose by 37 percent, but what was recently revealed is that male suicide rates began to climb as well.1 Within 27 European counties and 18 countries in the Americas, male suicide rates rose by an average of 3.3 percent.1 The suicide rate among women did not change.1 Researchers state that as the men are historically known as the head of the household, the providers, stress from their inability to support their families became too much—they felt as though they had failed.[2]

One in Six Seeking Help for Mental Health Issues Due to Finances

A mental health charity, The Samaritans, reported that calls to their branches in 2008 showed that one in 10 callers talked about financial difficulties.1 At the end of 2012, the number calling stating financial difficulties as part of the cause of their mental health issues was one in six.1 A national UK charity PAPYRUS also stated that finances and debt were a consistent theme seen from those seeking mental health treatment.1

While it is quite possible that other factors may be at play, there is no disputing the trend of increased suicide during an economic downturn.1 However, this is not a new trend. In 1997, an economic crisis caused an additional 10,000 suicides in Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong.2 The Great Depression of the 1930s and Russian economic crisis in the early 90s also saw a rise in suicides.2

Men, Heads of Household, at Higher Risk of Suicide

The biggest surge in response to the 2008 economic downturn was seem amongst middle-aged men, ages 45 to 64, with a 5.2 percent higher than the world’s expected rate.[3] Still, newly married men with young children are also at a high risk.3 The number of jobless people rose to 212 million worldwide in 2009, and as a result, Germany saw an increase of 376 male suicides, and France saw an increase of 344.2 However, these numbers do not compare to the additional 2,309 men who killed themselves in the United States.2

With jobs still being cut in Europe and the Americas, governments are asked to do more to protect the most vulnerable.3



[1] BBC. (2013, September 18). Global economic crisis ‘linked to suicide rise’. BBC. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24123677

[2] Nolan, S. (2013, September 18). UK suicide rate rose as 300 extra men killed themselves after financial crisis. Mail Online. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2424285/UK-suicide-rate-rose-300-extra-men-killed-financial-crisis.html

[3] Silvera, I. (2013, September 18). Global 2008 Economic Crisis Fuels Suicide Rate Surge. International Business Times UK. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/506989/20130918/suicide-economic-crisis-credit-crunch-british-medical.htm

One Comment

  • Cimmino

    October 16, 2013, 5:24 pm

    Great info and straight to the point.

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