1000 extra suicides blamed on the recession in the UK

Much of the world has been hammered hard by the recession, but a specific two-year period of economic downturn in the UK may be to blame for 1,000 extra suicides. In 2008, the UK had its lowest suicide rate in 20 years, but in 2008 it spiked by 8% for men and 7% for women — and rose again the next year.

A new piece of research places the blame for this increase squarely on the recession, notably the austerity measures which lead to an increase in job losses. Rises in unemployment have been historically associated with increased suicide rates in men rather than women, but this recession saw a climb in numbers for both sexes. In fact, the analysis pegs claims that 846 more men and 155 more women committed suicide than they would have if the economy had remained stable.

More directly, researchers tied job losses and unemployment to male suicide, linking every 10% increase in the number of unemployed men to an associated 1.4% spike in suicides. With that math, 329 male suicides can be linked to the rise in unemployment during the recession. This also explains a slight reduction in suicides in 2010 when there was a small boost to male unemployment numbers. Job numbers aren't expected to rebound until 2017, which means five more years of increased unemployment — and, if this study is correct, more suicides.

Naturally, this is a correlation and there's no proof for a causal connection. But the connection is not implausible. With increased worries over austerity budget cuts leading to further firings, it's difficult not to take a dim view of what might happen over the next few years.

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