Economic woes cause rise in suicide rate, says report
Published 09/07/2011 | 05:00
THE financial crisis has "almost certainly" led to an increase in suicides across Europe, with Ireland and Greece worst affected, a new study has revealed.
Ireland's suicide rate has risen by 13pc, second only to Greece between 2007 and 2009.
In contrast, Finland -- which has strong social protection systems -- had an increase in suicides of just over 5pc, the findings published in 'The Lancet' revealed.
There were 362 suicides in 2007 in Ireland, 332 in 2008 and 422 in 2009.
The study found that road deaths fell during the period -- a trend which was put down to the drop in car use. It also noted a fall in organs available for transplant in Ireland and Spain, which may partly be down to the fall in car crashes.
The analysis, by US and UK researchers, found a rise in suicides was recorded amongst working-age people from 2007 to 2009 in nine of the 10 nations studied.
The increases varied between 5pc and 17pc for under 65s. The report claimed that investment in welfare systems was the key to keeping rates down.
The researchers argued that supporting people back into work or having programmes to stop them losing their jobs in the first place was more important than giving them benefits.
The team used World Health Organisation data to compare rates in the 10 countries.
Only Austria saw suicide rates fall and this was linked to the fact that it was less affected by the financial crisis than the others.