Studies Show Austerity Policies Exacerbate US Suicide Epidemic

(Photo: NoHoDamon)

According to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate in the United States has risen dramatically over the past decade-and-a-half.

Adjusting for age, it jumped 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, with the biggest increases coming after 2006. Thirteen out of every 100,000 people now kill themselves, making suicide one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the entire country.

This is a serious public health crisis that needs to be fixed, and while we can’t bring back the people we’ve already lost, there is something we can do as a country to make sure even more people don’t take their own lives.

And that something is to stop supporting right-wing austerity policies because economic deprivation is one of the contributing factors that drive people to take their own life.

Seriously, I’m not kidding. It’s a well-documented sociological fact.

Numerous studies have found a strong connection between right-wing economic policies and suicide.

Recent research from sociologists David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, for example, found that suicide rates in both the US and UK increase when working class wages and wealth decline. Things were particularly bad during the recession period here in the US when, according to the study’s authors, there were 4,750 “excess” suicides.


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