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      Relationship of suicide rates with climate and economic variables in Europe during 2000–2012

      , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 18 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 13 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 8 , 37 , 37 , 7 , 35 , 36 , 38 , 39 , 35 , 36 , 14 , 20 , 40 , 31 , 32 , 41 , 42 , 41

      Annals of General Psychiatry

      BioMed Central

      Suicide, Europe, Austerity, Climate

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          It is well known that suicidal rates vary considerably among European countries and the reasons for this are unknown, although several theories have been proposed. The effect of economic variables has been extensively studied but not that of climate.


          Data from 29 European countries covering the years 2000–2012 and concerning male and female standardized suicidal rates (according to WHO), economic variables (according World Bank) and climate variables were gathered. The statistical analysis included cluster and principal component analysis and categorical regression.


          The derived models explained 62.4 % of the variability of male suicidal rates. Economic variables alone explained 26.9 % and climate variables 37.6 %. For females, the respective figures were 41.7, 11.5 and 28.1 %. Male suicides correlated with high unemployment rate in the frame of high growth rate and high inflation and low GDP per capita, while female suicides correlated negatively with inflation. Both male and female suicides correlated with low temperature.


          The current study reports that the climatic effect (cold climate) is stronger than the economic one, but both are present. It seems that in Europe suicidality follows the climate/temperature cline which interestingly is not from south to north but from south to north-east. This raises concerns that climate change could lead to an increase in suicide rates. The current study is essentially the first successful attempt to explain the differences across countries in Europe; however, it is an observational analysis based on aggregate data and thus there is a lack of control for confounders.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12991-016-0106-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 80

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          Health effects of financial crisis: omens of a Greek tragedy.

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            Modelling suicide and unemployment: a longitudinal analysis covering 63 countries, 2000-11.

            As with previous economic downturns, there has been debate about an association between the 2008 economic crisis, rising unemployment, and suicide. Unemployment directly affects individuals' health and, unsurprisingly, studies have proposed an association between unemployment and suicide. However, a statistical model examining the relationship between unemployment and suicide by considering specific time trends among age-sex-country subgroups over wider world regions is still lacking. We aimed to enhance knowledge of the specific effect of unemployment on suicide by analysing global public data classified according to world regions.
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              Suicide and drought in New South Wales, Australia, 1970-2007.

              There is concern in Australia that droughts substantially increase the incidence of suicide in rural populations, particularly among male farmers and their families. We investigated this possibility for the state of New South Wales (NSW), Australia between 1970 and 2007, analyzing data on suicides with a previously established climatic drought index. Using a generalized additive model that controlled for season, region, and long-term suicide trends, we found an increased relative risk of suicide of 15% (95% confidence interval, 8%-22%) for rural males aged 30-49 y when the drought index rose from the first quartile to the third quartile. In contrast, the risk of suicide for rural females aged >30 y declined with increased values of the drought index. We also observed an increased risk of suicide in spring and early summer. In addition there was a smaller association during unusually warm months at any time of year. The spring suicide increase is well documented in nontropical locations, although its cause is unknown. The possible increased risk of suicide during drought in rural Australia warrants public health focus and concern, as does the annual, predictable increase seen each spring and early summer. Suicide is a complex phenomenon with many interacting social, environmental, and biological causal factors. The relationship between drought and suicide is best understood using a holistic framework. Climate change projections suggest increased frequency and severity of droughts in NSW, accompanied and exacerbated by rising temperatures. Elucidating the relationships between drought and mental health will help facilitate adaptation to climate change.

                Author and article information

                Ann Gen Psychiatry
                Ann Gen Psychiatry
                Annals of General Psychiatry
                BioMed Central (London )
                9 August 2016
                9 August 2016
                : 15
                [1 ]3rd Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
                [2 ]Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
                [3 ]Department of Music Studies, School of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
                [4 ]Department of Meteorology and Climatology, School of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
                [5 ]Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Center for Social Psychiatry, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zurich, Switzerland
                [6 ]Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                [7 ]Clinic of Psychiatric, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
                [8 ]National Institute of Mental Health, Klecany, Czech Republic
                [9 ]Institute of Mental Health, WHO Collaborating Centre, Palmoticeva 37, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
                [10 ]The George Washington University, School of Medicine & School of Public Health, Washington, DC USA
                [11 ]Department of Psychiatry and Narcology, Riga Stradins University, Tvaika Str. 2, Riga, LV 1005 Latvia
                [12 ]Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital, SNP 1, 040 66 Košice, Slovakia
                [13 ]Department of Psychiatry, Ruhr University Bochum, LWL-University Hospital, Alexandrinenstr.1, 44791 Bochum, Germany
                [14 ]Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden
                [15 ]Psychiatric Hospital Vojnik, Celjska Cesta 37, Vojnik, Slovenia
                [16 ]National Mental Health Center and Anti-drug, Bucharest, Romania
                [17 ]Department of Adult Psychiatry, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
                [18 ]Department of Psychiatry, Sainte Marguerite Hospital, 13274 Marseille, France
                [19 ]East London NHS Trust, London, E1 4DG UK
                [20 ]Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin 2, Ireland
                [21 ]University Psychiatric Hospital, Ljubljana, Slovenia
                [22 ]University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Louvain, Belgium
                [23 ]Second Psychiatric Clinic, University Hospital for Active Treatment in Neurology and Psychiatry “Sveti Naum”, Sofia, Bulgaria
                [24 ]Psychiatric Clinic, Clinical Center of Montenegro, School of Medicine, University of Montenegro, Podgorica, Montenegro
                [25 ]Division of Biological Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
                [26 ]Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Egas Moniz, 1649-035 Lisbon, Portugal
                [27 ]Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Center Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
                [28 ]Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion (CNESPS), National Institute of Health (ISS), Rome, Italy
                [29 ]Psychiatry Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
                [30 ]Institute of Behavioral Sciences “G. De Lisio”, Pisa, Italy
                [31 ]NORMENT, KG Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
                [32 ]Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
                [33 ]Institute of Mental Health, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
                [34 ]Estonian-Swedish Mental Health and Suicidology Institute, Tallinn, Estonia
                [35 ]Department of Clinical and Theoretical Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
                [36 ]Laboratory for Suicide Research and Prevention, National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions, Budapest, Hungary
                [37 ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
                [38 ]Department of Pharmacodynamics, MTA-SE, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
                [39 ]Neuropsychopharmacology and Neurochemistry Research Group, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
                [40 ]Department of Psychiatry, Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece
                [41 ]Psychiatric Research Unit, Mental Health Centre North Zealand, University of Copenhagen, Dyrehavevej 48, 3400 Hillerød, Denmark
                [42 ]Department of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Sensory Organs, Suicide Prevention Center, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

                austerity, climate, europe, suicide


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