The state of the economy, including low incomes, job insecurity, zero-hours contracts, unmanageable debts and poor housing, is putting people at increased risk of suicide, according to a report by the Samaritans.
The report, Dying from Inequality, says there is “overwhelming evidence of a strong link between socioeconomic disadvantage and suicidal behaviour”.
It says governments should place a stronger emphasis on suicide prevention as an inequality issue. It calls for national suicide prevention strategies to be targeted at the most vulnerable people and places, in order to reduce geographical inequalities in suicide.
Samaritans also calls on workplaces to put in place suicide preventions plans and provide better psychological support for employees experiencing job insecurity or affected by downsizing.
Recent research indicates middle-aged men are at higher suicide risk due to economic recession. Unemployed people are two to three times more likely to die by suicide than those with a job.
The least skilled occupations have higher rates of suicide, and a low level of educational attainment and no home ownership has been found to increase an individuals risk of suicide, the report says.
Suicide rates are two to three times higher in the most deprived neighbourhoods compared to the most affluent, and admissions to hospital after self-harm are two times higher.
– Caroline Davis