Male suicides rose after 2008 Western financial crash: study

PARIS: The 2008 financial crisis that devastated many Western economies also reaped a heavy toll in suicides among men, a study published on Tuesday suggests.

Health researchers analysed data for suicides among people aged over 15 in 54 countries, comparing rates before and after the crash.

In 2009, there were 4,884 more suicides compared with the normal trend, they said.

Suicide numbers in 2009 were 4.2 percent higher in 27 European countries and 6.4 percent higher in 18 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The benchmark is the suicide trend for 2000-2007, extrapolated to 2009.

The increases occurred among men, rising 3.3 percent in 2009 compared with this trend, says the study, published online by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Among European men, there was an 11.7 percent rise in suicides in the 15-24 age group.

In the Americas, the biggest increase was among men aged 45-64, which saw a rise of 5.2 percent.

Among women, though, there was an overall decline of 0.5 percent in 2009 compared with what would have been expected if the crisis had not occurred.

“After the 2008 economic crisis, rates of suicide increased in the European and American countries studied, particularly in men and in countries with higher levels of job loss,” said the authors.

They noted that unemployment in Europe shot up in 2009 by between 17 and 35 percent according to the country, and by 25 to 36 percent in 2010.

In North America, unemployment rates began to rise in 2008, lifting by 23 percent, and almost doubled the following year.