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Suicide rate increases with unemployment in France, study says

In France the rate of deaths by suicide has increased with the unemployment rate, according to a study published on 5 January 2015.
In France the rate of deaths by suicide has increased with the unemployment rate, according to a study published on 5 January 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The number of deaths by suicide increases with the unemployment rate and about 600 suicides could be attributed to the rise of unemployment in France between 2008 and 2010, according to a study published Tuesday.

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“Between 2000 and 2010 in France, the unemployment rate is significantly and most probably associated to the suicide rate”, according to researchers of the national institute for health and medical research (Inserm).

When the unemployment rate increases by 10 percent, the suicide rate (the number of deaths by suicide in relation to the population) goes up by about 1.5 percent for the total population above 15 years old.

The link between unemployment and suicide seems more evident for the men between 25 and 49 years old. In this age group, a 10 percent increase of the unemployment rate goes along with a rise of 1.8 to 2.6 percent of the suicide rate.

But the researchers insist on the fact their study is based on statistics and observations and that “no causal link” between unemployment and suicide “can be deduced from these results”.

The relationship between unemployment and suicide is still “debated” because several “confounding factors” can come into play. For instance, a person with psychiatric disorders has a greater risk of being unemployed and of committing suicide, the researchers explain.

Supposing that there is a causal link between unemployment and suicide, “the number of suicide that can be attributed to the increase of unemployment in France between 2008 and 2010” can be “estimated to 584” (compared to the number of suicides if unemployment had remained stable at the level of the end of 2007), the study says.

According to the national Observatory on suicide, France has one of the highest rates in Europe with one in 50 deaths attributed to suicide.

In 2011 11, 400 deaths by suicide were reported in France, according to a report published in November by the Observatory.

Similarly to other countries, deaths by suicide are three times higher for men than for women with approximately 27.7 deaths for 100,000 for men and 8.1 for women.

 

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