Financial crisis to blame for increased number of suicides in Italy

(Medical Xpress) -- The global financial crisis has contributed to an increase in the rates of suicide and attempted suicide for economic reasons in Italy, new research shows.

A team of researchers, co-led by Roberto De Vogli, associate professor of and at the University of Michigan School of Public Health,

looked at data from 2000-10 and found an increase in and attempted suicides for economic reasons during the entire period.

Using a that compared time-trends for the crisis years (2008-10) against those of the pre-crisis years (2000-07), this study estimated that, between 2008 and 2010, there were 290 excess suicides and attempted suicides due to economic reasons attributable to the Great .

"These preliminary results have important policy implications. They suggest that, as seen in other European countries — for example, in Greece — the Great Recession and austerity packages designed to balance the budget deficit caused by the crisis, are causing significant human suffering in the general population," De Vogli said.

Research partners included Sir Michael Gideon Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, and David Stuckler, university lecturer in sociology, University of Cambridge. The study was partly funded by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council.

In what the authors call "the first grassroots movement on mental health in Europe" widows of men who killed themselves had protested in May at tax offices in Bologna, Italy, claiming that, "austerity and tax collection put their husbands at risk." Yet, not all who heard their campaign believed in what some are calling "suicides by economic crisis", which prompted the team to analyze data compiled by the Italian Institute of National Statistics.

"Of course, these results need to be interpreted with caution. More research with better data is necessary to examine the impact of the crisis on suicides," De Vogli said. "However, trends in overall suicides in Italy are consistent with those of other , where suicides were falling before the crisis and rapidly reversed upon the onset of the 2008 financial collapse."

De Vogli added that he and the team are in favor of prompt policy interventions to meet the social and economic needs of families and individuals who have lost their jobs, homes or business due to the 2008 financial crisis.

More information: The findings are detailed in "Excess suicides and attempted suicides in Italy attributable to the great recession," an article appears now in JECH Online First jech.bmj.com/content/early/201… /01/jech-2012-201607 and is to be published later in the print Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

The connection between economic distress, suicide

May 18, 2011

If the United States follows the pattern that occurred after the economic crisis in Japan, public health officials should watch for a significant increase in suicides, particularly in the baby boom population, concluded a ...

Recommended for you

What sign language teaches us about the brain

7 hours ago

The world's leading humanoid robot, ASIMO, has recently learnt sign language. The news of this breakthrough came just as I completed Level 1 of British Sign Language (I dare say it took me longer to master signing ...

Why do men prefer nice women?

7 hours ago

People's emotional reactions and desires in initial romantic encounters determine the fate of a potential relationship. Responsiveness may be one of those initial "sparks" necessary to fuel sexual desire and land a second ...

Study reveals how to be socially successful

7 hours ago

Romantic, personal and professional relationships are fraught with danger, but a University of Queensland researcher has found the secret to interacting successfully with others in such settings.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ziphead
not rated yet Aug 21, 2012
"Financial crisis to blame for increased number of suicides in Italy"

Really? And I thought it was because of declining quality of coffee in their espresso.