Authors:Ernesto R. Ferreira, João D. Monteiro and José R. Pires Manso
Can socioeconomic fluctuations explain variations in European Union suicide mortality? To answer this question, we investigate the effect of socioeconomic and demographic factors on (agespecific) male and female suicide rates using a fixed-effects technique and panel data for 15 EU countries, over a time period that leads up to, coincides with, and follows the recession of 2008. The findings show that suicide rates for young and working-age populations are more sensitive to general economic conditions than suicide rates for other age groups, and that male suicide behavior is more responsive than female behavior. In this setting, suicide rates are likely to be higher in countries with lower income, higher unemployment, higher divorce rates, and, most importantly, weaker systems of social protection. Our results, however, raise serious doubts about government involvement in crisis-related mental illness prevention and mental health promotion.