Study links British recession to 1,000 suicides

Study links British recession to 1,000 suicides
Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012

Depression, Anxiety, Alcohol abuse

A survey of 300 family doctors published by the Insight Research Group on Tuesday found that 76 per cent of those questioned about the effects of the economic crisis said they thought it was making people unhealthier, leading to more anxiety, abortions and alcohol abuse.

Data this month from the government's Health and Social Care Information Centre showed the number of prescriptions dispensed in England for antidepressants rose 9.1 per cent in 2010.

A study published last July, also by Stuckler, found that across Europe, suicide rates rose sharply from 2007 to 2009 as the financial crisis drove unemployment up and squeezed incomes.

The countries worst hit by severe economic downturns, such as Greece and Ireland, saw the most dramatic increases in suicides.

In Britain, there's little doubt times have been getting harder. The economy has shrunk for the last nine months and now produces 4.5 per cent less than before the economic crisis.

Government debt is well above a trillion pounds and is predicted to rise above 90 per cent of GDP even with austerity policies being pushed through by the government.

Many Britons have had the worst squeeze in living standards for 40 years and the crisis has hit young people hard, with youth unemployment soaring above 20 per cent.

Stuckler's BMJ study found that the number of unemployed men rose on average across Britain by 25.6 per cent each year from 2008 to 2010, a rise associated with a yearly increase in male suicides of 3.6 per cent.

"Much of men's identity and sense of purpose is tied up with having a job. It brings income, status, importance..." Stuckler said in a telephone interview.

"And there's also a pattern in the UK where men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, while women are much more likely to report being depressed and seek help."

The World Health Organisation estimates that every year, almost a million people die from suicide - a rate of 16 per 100,000, or one every 40 seconds.

The UN health body also estimated that for every suicide, there are up to 20 attempted ones.

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS):1800-2214444
Singapore Association for Mental Health:1800-2837019
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