The recession played a part in causing a rise in suicides among men, a new report has revealed.
Before the 2008 financial crash hit, male suicide rates in England were gradually falling.
But rates began to rise again after the recession hit, which researchers believe are linked to rises in unemployment, debt and home repossessions.
Such experiences increase an individual’s risk of depression, suicide attempt and suicide, the PolicyBristol report explained.
Other stressors linked to the economic climate included disputes over benefits, wage cuts or demotions and reduced hours.
The study looked at 287 deaths from suicide and found that 37 (14%) were linked to unemployment and financial difficulties.
Researchers from the University of Bristol also found that many individuals who die by suicide in the context of employment or financial difficulties were not in contact with mental health services or their GP.
David Gunnell, professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol said: “Prior to the recession, rates of suicide in the UK were declining. Around the time of the recession, this decline reversed, and similar patterns were seen in other European countries and in North America.
“The greatest rise in the incidence of suicide appeared to be in young men.
“The consequences of recession on individuals – unemployment, the risk of losing a home, or financial difficulties caused by debt, wage cuts, demotions, reduced hours or disputes over benefits – are all likely to be important contributors to the rises.”
The findings could have important implications if the country was to enter another recession.
Professor Gunnell said: “These findings have a range of policy implications. It’s important that in times of high unemployment appropriate investment is made in labour market programmes to support young people who are entering the labour market for the first time. Similarly, ensuring the provision of adequate welfare benefits could mitigate the impact of future recessions on suicide risk.
“It’s also vitally important that staff who come into contact with vulnerable individuals whose mental health is affected by economic difficulties are trained to recognise and respond to risk, and are properly informed about the places to steer people affected towards for appropriate help.
“Those agencies and organisations that provide advice services, such as the CAB and debt advice centres, must themselves be funded properly.”
Useful websites and helplines:
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41