Economic Downturn Connected to Rise in Depression and Suicide

Setbacks on the job or with your bank account can definitely leave you feeling bad. So what does a widespread economic recession do to a nation? According to a new study, it's correlated with a rash of suicides.

A recently-published study offered a survey of suicide statistics in the years since the global economic downturn began in 2007. The researchers suggest that thousands of suicides may be linked to downward mobility, job loss, and economic instability.

Mary Elizabeth Dallas explains on CBS:

In conducting the study, researchers from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine examined information on suicides from the World Health Organization. The data included 24 countries in the European Union as well as Canada and the United States.

The investigators found a reversal in the decline in suicides in the European Union that coincided with the beginning of the economic crisis in 2007. By 2009, suicides had increased by 6.5 percent.

Meanwhile, suicides in Canada rose by 4.5 percent between 2007 and 2010. In the United States there was an increase of 4.8 percent during this time period, the study found.

According to the study authors, these figures are "conservative" estimates. They said that the actual number of suicides since the recession hit are likely much greater than expected.

During a recession, some key risk factors for suicide may include job loss, home repossession and debt. Most suicides involve people with clinical depression, the report noted.

The researchers pointed out that prescription rates for antidepressants increased significantly in some countries during the recent recession. For example, in the United Kingdom, there was an 11 percent increase in such prescriptions between 2003 and 2007. By 2010, prescription rates for antidepressants rose 19 percent.

Countries that offer comprehensive suicide prevention services fare better than those that don't.