Unemployment Drove Spike In US Suicide Rates

A report published on the website of British medical journal The Lancet shows the U.S. suicide rate quadrupled during the first few years of the recession.

The study found that between 2008 and 2010, the U.S. averaged roughly 1,600 suicides per year more than between 1999 and 2007. It found that every 1% rise in unemployment brought a near 1% rise in the suicide rate.

 “Generally, it would all be connected to issues of loss.”

Dr. Andrew Harper is medical director of the University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center.

“With unemployment could come relationship problems, so individuals may have trouble with their families or feel that they’re not contributing to their family well-being in the way that they want to. It could impact their social standing or their social network. They may feel embarrassed by losing their job or not being able to find a job quickly and become more socially isolated.”

The report found the link between unemployment and suicide was roughly the same across all the regions of the country. But the correlation was strongest in Texas.


Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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