Suicide rates

I was reading David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu’s book The Body Economic; in their chapter about Russia they describe how the end of communism and the ‘Shock Therapy’ of very rapid privatisation had vastly increased mortality there, by comparison to the US:


They illustrated this further:


And then compared this with the 5-year moving average (using selected data points) given in The Economist:


They commented, saying that The Economist had backed ‘Shock Therapy’, as did many economists; while these expected some minor, transient social and health pain, this isn’t what happened.

So, I was interested to see this Tweet from The Economist recently:

Economist Tweet.jpg

Depression and suicide often, but not invariably increase with a recession and austerity: I haven’t seen the full article. Using the same numbers from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) I got this for suicides in men aged 30-49:

UK mortality.jpg

To which I added a 3-year moving average, reproducing their finding:

3-yr average.jpg

And then tried a 5-year moving average (as in their Russian Example):

5-year average.jpg

Rather than a rise in mortality recently, this moving average shows a slight fall.



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