August 15, 2012 12:30 pm
While jobs dried up in England between 2008 to 2010, researchers found that suicides did not. In fact, they did just the oppsite. After a 20 year decline in the grim statistic, suicides began to climb in 2008, increasing by about 8 percent among men and 9 percent among women in 2008 compared to 2007. By 2010 the suicide numbers started to fall, but more people still took their own lives that year than in 2007.
Previous studies found correlations between unemployment and increased suicide and self-harm risk, so the authors of this study compared suicide data in 93 regions in England with the number of people claiming unemployment benefits. According to their calculations, 846 male and 155 more female suicides too place between 2008 to 2010 than would have been statistically expected based on past trends. Each annual 10 percent increase in the number of unemployed persons was accompanied by a 1.4 percent increase in male suicides.
Though the study does not prove that job loss definitively causes increased suicide rates, the authors do claim that their finding may explain why the numbers of suicides declined in 2010 since the country enjoyed a slight boost in male employment that year.
Regardless of whether there are other factors at play, the authors point out that instating policies that promote re-employment may help alleviate suicides in times of economic hardship, and conclude in a statement that “the human cost of continued high levels of unemployment will outweigh the purported benefits of budget cuts.”
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