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Suicides Rise During Recessions, Study Finds

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Researchers from the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health which found a spike in suicide rates during economic crises such as the Great Depression, the oil crisis of the 1970s and the “double-dip recession” of the early 1980s. Suicides evidently rise with unemployment, as well.

The CDC team observed economic trends between 1928 and 2007 and compared them to suicide rates among people aged 25 to 64.

Monifa Thomas of the Naperville (Illinois) Sun writes:

Though researchers found a strong association between the two, the study wasn’t designed to prove there’s actually a cause-and-effect relationship. They noted that there may be other social, cultural and medical factors that could have also influenced suicide rates during the years studied.

Still, the findings indicate that economic hardship may be a precipitating factor for people already at risk for committing suicide.

Suicides hit an all-time high during the period examined in 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression. The all-time low occurred in 2000.

While the common image of suicides during the Depression has Wall Streeters leaping from windows, Slate's Nina Shen Rastogi exposed that as an urban legend a couple of years ago. (Read about that HERE.) As for the economics of suicide -- yes, someone has actually studied it -- it seems that after an unsuccessful attempt at killing yourself, one's income increases by 20.6%. But please, no matter how dissatisfied you may be with your salary... Anyway, details can be found HERE.)

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