USA Today (6/11, Weintraub) reports that according to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, “at least 10,000 more Americans and Europeans took their own lives from 2007 to 2010 than during the good economic times of the previous few years.” The study also revealed that “men facing financial difficulties are at higher suicide risk than women, probably because society generally expects men – more than women – to be breadwinners.” In addition, men appear to be “less likely than women to seek help when they are in trouble, often bottling up their worries.”
The Los Angeles Times (6/12, Kaplan) “Science Now” blog reports, “Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the [suicide] rate accelerated 4.8% after the meltdown, resulting in 4,750 ‘excess suicides’ between 2007 and 2010, the study said.” In Europe, “the suicide rate rose 6.5%, which translates into 7,950 ‘excess suicides’ between 2007 and 2010, the researchers wrote.” The study authors put forth two policy proposals to help protect people against the effects of future recessions. The first is an expansion of programs to help the unemployed find new employment. The second was for physicians to increase the number of prescriptions they write for antidepressants.
The NPR (6/12, Singh) “Shots” blog reports that even though “the report shows a correlation between economic turmoil and increased suicide rates, it can’t prove a causal relationship, the researchers note,” nor can it “prove that the people who lost their jobs or…homes were the ones who committed suicide.” Nevertheless, “the differing trends in the suicide rates of different countries deserve a closer look, says” the study’s lead author. Also covering the story is BBC News (6/12).
— “Great Recession tied to more than 10,000 suicides,” Karen Weintraub, USA Today, June 12, 2014.