The Great Recession has been implicated in more than 10,000 suicides in North American and Europe, according to a new British study.
The findings, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, are based on an analysis of health information from 24 countries in the U.S., Canada, and the European Union by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
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The research showed suicides had been declining in Europe and Canada until 2007, but by 2009 were charting a steady rise and levels remained elevated until 2011, BBC News
In Europe, that amounted to 7,950 more suicides than would have been expected if previous trends continued, the research group said. The number of people taking their own lives was already increasing in the U.S. by 2007, but the rate "accelerated" with the economic crisis, leading to 4,750 additional deaths.
The report said losing a job, having a home repossessed, and being in debt were the main risk factors.
Some countries bucked the trend. Sweden, Finland, and Austria all avoided increases in the suicide rate during the recession.
"A critical question for policy and psychiatric practice is whether suicide rises are inevitable," said researchers Aaron Reeves, M.D., of the University of Oxford. "There's a lot of good evidence showing recessions lead to rising suicides, but what is surprising is this hasn't happened everywhere — Austria, Sweden, and Finland."
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