Research links austerity to suicide

first_imgThere has been a direct link between fiscal austerity and a sharp rise in male suicides in Greece, according to research carried out by academics at the University of Portsmouth in the UK.The research by Nikos Antonakakis, a senior lecturer in economics and finance, and co-author Alan Collins, an economics professor, was published in the Social Science and Medicine journal and was highlighted by a report this week in The Guardian newspaper.According to the research, every 1 per cent fall in government spending in Greece led to a 0.43 per cent rise in suicides among men – after controlling for other characteristics that might lead to suicide, 551 men killed themselves “solely because of fiscal austerity” between 2009 and 2010, said the paper’s co-author Nikolaos Antonakakis.According to the authors of the report, there was a clear gender divide in the effects of austerity, with no obvious rise in female suicide rates. Men aged 45-89 faced the highest suicide risk in response to austerity because they were most likely to suffer cuts to their salaries and pensions, the research said.Antonakakis and Collins are considering work on the link between austerity and suicide rates in other countries most affected by the eurozone crisis, such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland.“These findings have strong implications for policymakers and for health agencies,” said Antonakakis. “We often talk about the fiscal multiplier effect of austerity, such as what it does to GDP. But what is the health multiplier?We have to consider the health multipliers of any fiscal consolidation and austerity. The fact we find gender specificity and age specificity can help health agencies target their help.”There were 508 suicides in Greece in 2012, according to figures published last month by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). This represented a rise of 36 per cent since 2008, before the country’s economic crisis began. Source: The Guardian Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more