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Neuropsychopharmacol Hung. 2012 Mar;14(1):41-50.

[Economic recession, unemployment and suicide].

[Article in Hungarian]

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  • 1Semmelweis Egyetem Kútvölgyi Klinikai Tömb, Klinikai és Kutatási Mentálhigiénés Osztály, Budapest, Hungary.


Considering the ongoing global economic crisis which began in 2007 it is reasonable to discuss its possible and expectable effects on mental health. In our narrative review we have summarized the scientific literature on the relationship between economic downturns, unemployment and suicide rate. In addition, we have summarized the theories about the background of this relationship as well. Suicide is an extremely complex phenomenon since it is influenced by several environmental and genetic factors. Furthermore, some of these factors are mutually interrelated, so the independent effect of these frequently remains elusive and hard to investigate from a methodological point of view. Although results are somewhat contradictory, it seems that unemployment is an independent risk factor for both suicide and depression. The first papers about the effect of the current economic crisis on suicide rates have been published and their results confirmed the association between the rise of unemployment rate and the increase of suicide rate in both old and new members of the European Union. Although psychiatric, and primarily depressive illness is a major risk factor for suicide, understanding the contributing role of other etiologic factors in their complex relationship may be an important task in predicting and preventing suicide both at the level of at risk individuals and the whole population.

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