Dying from Inequality – Samaritans commissioned eight leading social scientists to review and extend the existing body of knowledge on socioeconomic disadvantage, ie. being poor, addressing three key questions:
- Why is there a connection between socioeconomic disadvantage and suicidal behaviour?
- What is it about socioeconomic disadvantage that increases the risk of suicidal behaviour?
- What can be done about it?
A few excerpts:
Neighbourhoods that are the most deprived have worse health than those that are less deprived and this association follows a gradient: for each increase in deprivation, there is a decrease in health. Additional support for those living in deprived areas is needed to reduce geographical inequalities in health and the risk of suicidal behaviour.
Economic uncertainty, unemployment, a decline in income relative to local wages, unmanageable debt, the threat or fear of home repossessions, job insecurity and business downsizing may all increase the risk of suicidal behaviour, especially for individuals who experience socioeconomic disadvantage.
Unmanageable debt is an important risk factor for suicidal behaviour. Financial advice and support for those at risk of having unmanageable debt can help reduce the risk of mental health problems and suicidal behaviour.
Suicidal behaviour and mental health problems, such as mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression, could be reduced through labour market policy design, such as higher spending on active labour market programmes and unemployment benefits.
People living with socioeconomic disadvantage and inequalities are more likely to experience negative events during their life, such as job loss, financial difficulties, poor housing, and relationship breakdown. This can lead to negative emotions and increase the likelihood of suicidal behaviour.