Financial crisis to blame for increased number of suicides in Italy

August 21, 2012

(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.

Explore further: UK recession may be to blame for over 1,000 suicides in England

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.

Related Stories

UK recession may be to blame for over 1,000 suicides in England

August 14, 2012
A paper published in the British Medical Journal today suggests that over 1000 people have committed suicide due to the 2008-2010 economic recession in the UK (846 men and 155 women).

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

Probing how Americans think about mental life

October 20, 2017
When Stanford researchers asked people to think about the sensations and emotions of inanimate or non-human entities, they got a glimpse into how those people think about mental life.

Itsy bitsy spider: Fear of spiders and snakes is deeply embedded in us

October 19, 2017
Snakes and spiders evoke fear and disgust in many people, even in developed countries where hardly anybody comes into contact with them. Until now, there has been debate about whether this aversion is innate or learnt. Scientists ...

Dutch courage—Alcohol improves foreign language skills

October 18, 2017
A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University and King's College London, shows that bilingual speakers' ability to speak a second ...

Inflamed support cells appear to contribute to some kinds of autism

October 18, 2017
Modeling the interplay between neurons and astrocytes derived from children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, say innate ...

Study suggests psychedelic drugs could reduce criminal behavior

October 18, 2017
Classic psychedelics such as psilocybin (often called magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (found in peyote) are associated with a decreased likelihood of antisocial criminal behavior, according to new research from investigators ...

Taking probiotics may reduce postnatal depression

October 18, 2017
Researchers from the University of Auckland and Otago have found evidence that a probiotic given in pregnancy can help prevent or treat symptoms of postnatal depression and anxiety.

1 comment

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.