Unemployment is linked to 45,000 suicides around the world each year, a new study finds.
This represents around one in five of the total number of global suicides.
The research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, gathered data from 63 countries between 2000 and 2011 (Nordt et al., 2015).
They found that the risk of suicide due to unemployment had risen between 20 and 30 per cent across all regions of the world.
Also, since the period included the start of the recession in 2008, they were able to look at its effect.
Dr. Carlos Nordt, who led the study, said:
“After the crisis year in 2008, the number of suicides increased short-term by 5,000 cases.
Therefore, suicides associated with unemployment totaled a nine-fold higher number of deaths than excess suicides attributed to the most recent economic crisis.”
It’s not just the unemployment itself that is linked to suicide, it’s the period leading up to it when employees can face an uncertain and stressful few months, or even longer.
Suicide and unemployment
In some countries the impact of unemployment is worse, as the team explains:
“…our data suggest that not all job losses necessarily have an equal impact, as the effect on suicide risk appears to be stronger in countries where being out of work is uncommon.
It is possible that an unexpected increase in the unemployment rate may trigger greater fears and insecurity than in countries with higher pre-crisis unemployment levels.”
Dr Wolfram Kawohl, one of the study’s authors, said:
“The development on the job market was obviously anticipated and the uncertainty regarding the development of the economic situation already seems to have negative consequences.
Training for specialists such as those in the human resources department is needed to recognize this increased suicide risk in people both in and out of work more effectively and to help deal with the problem.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Depressed man image from Shutterstock