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Tuesday 20th February 2018

Rates of suicide and depression on rise

18th November 2010

The human cost of Britain’s economic downturn is being reflected in rising rates of suicide and depression.


The trend comes to light as Prime Minister David Cameron prepares plans to measure the sense of general wellbeing across the country.

After years where the suicide rate has fallen, figures for 2008 show the number of people killing themselves rose by 329 to 5,706 marking the first rise for a decade.

Suicide rates among men went up from 16.8 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 17.7 per 100,000 in 2008 while the rate among women rose from 5 per 100,000 people to 5.4 per 100,000.

The data coincides with new figures on those claiming incapacity benefit for depression, which has risen by 15,000 on the previous year to 427,000 and is believed to cost the economy £9.2 billion a year in lost earnings.

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who obtained the figures, said: "Years of failure to tackle the condition is hitting us all in the pocket. It can force some sufferers out of work now and make reemployment more difficult in the future, which costs the public and private sector billions."

The issue of suicide rates and the economy have also been raised in the House of Commons.

Care services minister Paul Burstow said: "There is plenty of evidence across the world that in times of recession and high unemployment, rates of mental illness and suicide tend to rise."

He said it was important to ensure that “ensure that economic recovery is matched by psychological recovery” from the recession.


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