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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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