Sunday, December 21, 2014

Recession and austerity ‘have provided a deadly mixture’

The combination of the recession and the coalition’s austerity programme is likely to have been responsible for hundreds of suicides in England, a researcher at Oxford University has suggested.

Dr Aaron Reeves, a sociologist at Oxford University and part of a group of researchers investigating the effects of recession and austerity, told a seminar organised by Disability Rights UK in London that there had been at least 10,000 “excess” suicides across Europe and north America as a result of the global recession from 2008-2010.

The seminar – sponsored by Joseph Rowntree Foundation – was addressed by four leading academics, and explored how to develop economic policies that would support disabled people into employment

Reeves said: “We are saying broadly that we are seeing a rise in mental health issues, and a symptom of that is the rise in suicides.”

He said that the recession had made things difficult for “vulnerable populations across Europe”, while austerity policies introduced by governments had made it even worse.

But he said the steep rise in suicides during the recession had not been seen in some countries which had done more to invest in programmes to support those who were out-of-work.