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Suicide increase study: Key findings

Key findings from the a study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry that shows the recent economic crisis led suicides to rise "markedly".

  • Before the recession suicide rates had been falling in Europe
  • Between 2007 and 2009, suicide rates rose in Europe by 6.5%
  • The rates remained at this elevated level through to 2011
  • Suicide rates in Canada and the US rose by 4.5% and 4.8%, respectively, during the same time
  • Most suicides are committed by people with clinical depression
  • There is a marked rise in antidepressant use during the economic downturn
  • In the UK, prescriptions of the drugs rose by 19% between 2007 and 2010
  • Programmes that help people who are out of work appeared to reduce the number of suicides.

Suicide data 'reveals looming mental health crisis'

A rise in suicides in Europe and the US during the recent financial crisis is the "tip of the iceberg" according to one expert.

Oxford University's Professor David Stuckler co-authored a study that found thousands more people - mostly men - committed suicide during the 2008 - 2010 recession.

Suicides are 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.

– Co-author Professor David Stuckler, from the University of Oxford

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Recession 'led to at least 10,000 suicides'

Suicide rates "rose significantly" during the recent recession, experts have found.

Research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found there were at least 10,000 additional suicides in Europe and North America between 2008 and 2010, as a result of the economic downturn.

The recent recession may have led to thousands of extra suicides, researchers have said.
The recent recession may have led to thousands of extra suicides, researchers have said. Credit: PA

The increase was four times higher among men, the study suggested.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analysed data from the World Health Organisation about suicides in 24 EU countries, the US and Canada.

They cited job loss, home repossession and debt as the main risk factors leading to suicide during recessions.

UK economy 'to hit 2008 peak by summer'

The UK economy will exceed its pre-recession peak by the summer, according to upgraded forecasts from a leading business lobby group today.

File photo of money as the BCC says UK economy 'to hit 2008 peak by summer'. Credit: PA Wire

The British Chambers of Commerce now believes the UK will grow by 2.8% this year and that the second quarter will see gross domestic product climb back to the level seen in the first quarter of 2008.

A year ago amid a much gloomier picture for the economy, the BCC predicted the pre-recession peak would not be reached until 2016, although a number of revisions brought this forward to the third quarter of 2014 in December.

More: Economy growth for Q4 of 2013 unchanged at 0.7%

Weak pound boosts demand for UK exports

The pound has fallen against the dollar and euro this year. Credit: PA

The ONS said service sector output increased by 0.8% in January on a year earlier and was up 0.3% month-on-month, despite the snow impact at the start of the year.

It is hoped that this solid performance will offset woes in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

Increased demand for exports has been helping, boosted by the recent weakness of the pound, which makes it cheaper to buy British goods and services.

The BCC's survey showed improvements in both the manufacturing and services sectors, although employment had weakened.

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BCC: ONS has 'exaggerated' economic weakness

David Kern, British Chambers of Commerce chief economist, said the results suggested the economy continued to grow in the first three months of 2013.

He added:

The survey reinforces our assessment that recent gross domestic product (GDP) figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have exaggerated the weakness of the UK economy and the volatility in output.

If an announcement of negative growth in the first quarter is misleadingly described as a triple-dip recession, confidence will again be damaged unnecessarily.

He admitted the survey showed the UK's economic performance was still "inadequate", but confirms areas of strength.

UK will avoid triple dip, says business group

Britain's services sector will save the country from another recession, according to the BCC. Credit: PA

Britain will avoid a triple dip recession thanks to near record levels of exports from the powerhouse services sector, a business group said today.

The latest economic survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) revealed export deliveries and orders from the services sector - which accounts for more than three quarters of UK economic output - rose close to the all-time highs seen in 1994 during the first three months of 2013.

Its survey of more than 7,000 firms also found that business confidence had grown, while firms were looking to invest more in their businesses.

GDP figures could signal another period of recession

The GDP figures for the last three months of 2012 will be released this morning and could show that the UK has entered another period of recession.

The economy is officially in recession if the figures show that GDP - the amount of goods and services produced by the UK - has contracted for a second quarter in a row.

Read: What is a recession?

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