A new study has linked the economic recession to 10,000 suicides across North American and Europe, and revealed a "looming mental health crisis."
Researchers from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine used data from the World Health Organization on suicides in Canada, the U.S. and 24 EU nations and found an increase in the number of suicides from 2008 to 2010.
The suicide rate increased by 4.8 percent in the U.S. between 2007 and 2010. In the EU, the rate rose by 6.5% by 2009 and stayed at that level.
The three factors the study found to be the biggest risk factors were job loss, home repossession and debt.
"There has been a substantial rise in suicides during the recession, greater than we would have anticipated based on previous trends," stated Dr. Aaron Reeves of Oxford University's Department of Sociology and lead author of the study.
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The study authors also warn that the 10,000 suicides may be a conservative estimate.
"Suicides are just the tip of the iceberg," stated co-author Professor David Stuckler from the University of Oxford.
"These data reveal a looming mental health crisis in Europe and North America. In these hard economic times, this research suggests it is critical to look for ways of protecting those who are likely to be hardest hit," Stuckler stated.
The findings were published Thursday in the British Journal of Psychiatry.