Suicides associated with the 2008-10 economic recession in England: time trend analysis

Barr, B; Taylor-Robinson, D; Scott-Samuel, A; McKee, M; Stuckler, D; (2012) Suicides associated with the 2008-10 economic recession in England: time trend analysis. BMJ (Clinical research ed), 345. ISSN 0959-8138 DOI:

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Objective To determine whether English regions worst affected by the economic recession in the United Kingdom in 2008-10 have had the greatest increases in suicides. Design Time trend analysis comparing the actual number of suicides with those that would be expected if pre-recession trends had continued. Multivariate regression models quantified the association between changes in unemployment (based on claimant data) and suicides (based on data from the National Clinical Health Outcomes Database). Setting 93 English regions, based on the Nomenclature of Territorial Units Statistics level 3 groupings of local authorities at county level and groups of unitary local authorities. Participants Men and women with a record of death from suicide or injury of undetermined cause in 2000-10. Main outcome measure Number of excess suicides during the economic recession (2008-10). Results Between 2008 and 2010, we found 846 (95% confidence interval 818 to 877) more suicides among men than would have been expected based on historical trends, and 155 (121 to 189) more suicides among women. Historically, short term yearly fluctuations in unemployment have been associated with annual changes in suicides among men but not among women. We estimated that each 10% increase in the number of unemployed men was significantly associated with a 1.4% (0.5% to 2.3%) increase in male suicides. These findings suggest that about two fifths of the recent increase in suicides among men (increase of 329 suicides, 126 to 532) during the 2008-10 recession can be attributed to rising unemployment. Conclusion The study provides evidence linking the recent increase in suicides in England with the financial crisis that began in 2008. English regions with the largest rises in unemployment have had the largest increases in suicides, particularly among men.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: health, unemployment, rates, crisis, impact
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Research Centre: ECOHOST - The Centre for Health and Social Change
Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 22893569
Web of Science ID: 307752000007


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