The findings, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, show that suicide rates rose significantly in the EU, Canada and the USA after 2007, with the increase being four times higher among men.
The research team analysed recently released suicide data from the World Health Organization covering 24 EU countries and two North American countries. They observe that the downward trend in suicide rates in the EU reversed when the economic crisis began in 2007, rising by 6.5% by 2009 and remaining at the higher level through to 2011. In Canada, suicides rose by 4.5% between 2007 and 2010, while in the USA, the rate increased by 4.8% over the same period.
Report authors Aaron Reeves, Martin McKee and David Stuckler argue that there were at least 10,000 additional suicides due to the economic hardship experienced in EU countries, Canada and the USA. They describe their figure as a 'conservative' estimate and say the rise in suicides is substantially over and above what would be expected.