Unemployment and Suicide

The BBC posted an article “linking” a significant increase in European suicides to a concomitant rise in unemployment.

The financial crisis “almost certainly” led to an increase in suicides across Europe, health experts say.

The analysis by US and UK researchers found a rise in suicides was recorded among working age people from 2007 to 2009 in nine of the 10 nations studied.

The increases varied between 5% and 17% for under 65s after a period of falling suicide rates, The Lancet reported.

Researchers said investment in welfare systems was the key to keeping rates down.

Beyond the distress unemployment creates via loss of work role, loss of dignity, loss in family roles, social class loss, etc., the underlying stress is that of fearing the loss of survival.  No income equals no food, no shelter, no clothing, no fresh water, no safety.  In agricultural societies, people could literally eke out an existence from the land and create shelters from the landscape.  Not so in industrial societies where homelessness has literally been criminalized and legislated into invisibleness.  There is literally nowhere to escape to.Researchers have demonstrated that when people feel trapped and intolerably distressed, their risk for suicide heightens. Where does one go when there is nowhere to go?

Addressing unemployment and living wage accessibility for all is a key upstream issue.  Employment and living wage conditions should correlate with lower suicide rates in working age individuals.


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