Home >News >India >Suicide risk mounts amid job losses

The covid-19 pandemic has taken up unemployment levels to historic highs in several countries. Even as lockdowns continue to disrupt livelihoods, the larger mental health issue cannot be ignored. As a new study suggests, job losses due to covid-19 could result in up to 9,570 more suicides globally than is normal in a year.

The estimate was made by Swiss researchers Wolfram Kawohl and Carlos Nordt in a new Lancet note.

Using International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates, they said global unemployment could rise from 4.9% to 5.6% in the worst-case scenario after covid-19, and to 5.1% in the best case.

As a result, suicides would rise by 9,570 a year in the first case, and by 2,135 in the latter, they estimated.

Citing the ILO estimates, the study projected between 5.3 million and 24.7 million job losses due to the situation arising out of covid-19.

The analysis used another model the same authors had developed to estimate the effect of job losses on suicides between 2000 and 2011.

The authors had found that during that period—which included the 2008 economic crisis—the risk of suicides increased 20-30% when linked to unemployment.

Moreover, the authors point out, citing the World Health Organization (WHO) data, that for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts. They also warned that the 2008 data had shown that suicides rose even before joblessness. This means more people may need help from mental health services during the pandemic and the mental health system could be saddled with extra burden.

The authors warn that a downsizing of the economy and the health system’s focus on covid-19 could increase the risks for those vulnerable to mental health ailments.

Also read: COVID-19, unemployment, and suicide

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