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World economy

Suicide, heart attacks and murder rise in recession, study shows

Article published on the 2009-07-07 Latest update 2009-07-08 06:19 TU

A shop in Britain hit by the recession(Photo: AFP)

A shop in Britain hit by the recession
(Photo: AFP)

Suicides, homicides and fatal heart attacks all rise as the unemployment figures go up, according to research published in the British-based medical journal, The Lancet. As the G8 group of rich countries meets in Italy, the study says that social programmes can ease the pain.

Every one-per-cent rise in the jobless figures is accompanied by a 0.79-per-cent rise in suicides among people under the age of 65, the researchers found after looking at data from 26 countries in the European Union between 1970 and 2007.

The researchers warn that the figures could be an underestimate.

They admit that figures from some central and eastern European countries were sketchy or missing in some areas and that some indirect ways in which economic crisis can affect health are not accounted for.

Stress, anxiety and changes in nutrition can have long-term effects on health and some parts of the population are more vulnerable than others - disparities which do not show up in general data.

The paper says that social programmes can alleviate the effects of crisis on health.

Every 7.2 euros (ten dollars) per person spent on family support, housing costs and unemployment pay reduces the unemployment-related suicide rate by 0.038 per cent.

The research uncovered one piece of good news amid the gloom - deaths on the roads decline by 1.39 per cent as motorists become pedestrians to save money on petrol. 

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