Study: 2008 Financial Crisis Spurred Suicide Rate in Europe

Posted July 7th, 2011 at 8:05 pm (UTC-5)
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A group of researchers in Europe has found that the suicide rate rose sharply in several European countries around the time of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Their study, published Friday in The Lancet medical journal, says that a downward trend in the suicide rates that was seen before 2007 was reversed after the crisis.

The rise was especially marked in Greece and Ireland, two of Europe's worst-hit economies. The suicide rate was up 17 percent in Greece and 13 percent in Ireland in 2009, compared to 2007.

The study of 10 European countries shows that only Austria's suicide rate declined in that period and was down by 5 percent.

Researchers say that further analysis is needed to learn how many deaths in total can be linked to the financial crisis and its consequences, such as unemployment.

David Stuckler, a sociologist at Britain's Cambridge University, who led the study, told the Reuters news agency he feared that the social and health costs of the recent global economic downturn would turn out to be high.

Researchers compared data for six EU members — Austria, Britain, Finland, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands — that had been members of the bloc before 2004, and four — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania and Romania — that joined later.