There is a general correlation between unemployment and suicide among men. But the weaker the unemployment protection in the country, the stronger the connection. These findings are reported in a comparative study covering thirty countries, focusing the impact of the Great Recession on unemployment and suicide rates. The paper is published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
The impact of the Great Recession varies widely between different countries. The rise in unemployment in the wake of the Great Recession was strongest in eastern and southern Europe, weaker in Scandinavia and barely noticeable in Continental Europe. The study showed a general correlation between increases in unemployment and suicide among men.
However, there were significant differences between countries and we found that the lower the unemployment protection in the country, the stronger the relationship, says Thor Norström at the Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University.
However, there was no sign that the relationship would be particularly strong during the Great Recession compared to previous economic downturns.
There is surprisingly little research on the impact of the Great Recession on population health, Thor Norström continues. Our results suggest that a strong welfare state mitigates the negative effects of recessions on population mental health, often proxied by the suicide rate. For Scandinavia, there was no association between increased unemployment and suicide.