THURSDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Suicide rates increased in
Europe since the start of the global financial crisis, while road
deaths decreased, according to researchers.
Across the European Union, unemployment rose 2.6 percent (a 35
percent relative increase) between 2007 and 2009. At the same time,
there was a reversal in the steady downward trend in suicide rates
seen in EU countries before 2007.
In 2008, the suicide rate increased less than 1 percent in new
EU member states (those that joined in 2004) and increased nearly 7
percent in old member states (pre-2004). In both groups of
countries, suicide rates continued to rise in 2009, the new
"The countries facing the most severe financial reversals of fortune, such as Greece and Ireland, had greater rises in suicides (17 percent and 13 percent, respectively) than did the other countries, and in Latvia suicides increased by more than 17 percent between 2007 and 2008," according to the findings reported in a letter released online in advance of publication in the July 9 print issue of The Lancet.
Of all the countries studied, only Austria had fewer suicides in
2009 than in 2007 (a 5 percent decline), researcher David Stuckler
of the University of Cambridge in England, and colleagues
While suicides increased, there was a substantial decline in
road deaths in the EU, especially in new member countries with
previously high road death rates. For example, the road death rate
in Lithuania fell by almost 50 percent, the authors noted.
The overall decline in road deaths was likely associated with
reduced car use due to higher levels of unemployment, Stuckler and
colleagues said. They pointed out that road deaths in the United
States fell by 10 percent since the start of the economic
The researchers also found that the availability of organs for
transplants -- which are dependent on donors involved in traffic
crashes -- dwindled, especially in places such as Spain and Ireland
where road deaths fell by more than 25 percent between 2007 and
"These findings ... reveal the rapidity of the health consequences of financial crises," the researchers wrote.
The team is conducting further research to learn more about why
some people, communities and entire societies are especially
vulnerable to economic turmoil, while others are more
The American Psychological Association outlines ways to
manage your stress during difficult financial