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WJBD - Health & Fitness News - Recession Led More Men than Women to Suicide, Study Finds

Recession Led More Men than Women to Suicide, Study Finds

Jed Share/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Researchers blame the 2008 global economic crisis for the increase in suicide rates in European and American countries, particularly among males. This new study -- the first to look at international trends in suicide -- assessed suicide rates by country, gender and age.

In 2009, there was a 37-percent global rise in unemployment compared to 2007, and the overall male suicide rate rose by 3.3 percent -- accounting for an additional 5,000 men ending their own life, according to the researchers from Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. These increases were mainly seen in the 27 European countries (4.2 percent) and 18 American countries (6.4 percent) studied.  

In contrast, the suicide rates for women during this economic crisis showed little change.

The researchers used data from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook database. They looked at unemployment as the main economic indicator.

But the study authors say it's likely their findings underestimate the true global impact of the the economic crisis on suicide because data were unavailable for many countries.  Also, the authors add, suicide is just the "tip of the iceberg" of emotional distress related to the recession. They say that for every suicide, approximately 30-40 people make suicide attempts. For every suicide attempt, about 10 people have suicidal thoughts.

They conclude that “urgent action is needed to prevent the economic crisis from further increasing suicides” and that workplace programs may “help offset the impact of recession on suicide."

The study's findings were published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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