Evidence from previous recessions suggests that at times of economic deterioration, suicides increase. Spain has been one of the European countries hardest hit by the financial crisis that started in 2008. The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of the double-dip recession in Spain on the most recent trends in suicide.
Suicide data from the years 2002–2012 were obtained from the ‘Death Statistic according to Cause of Death’ of the National Statistics Institute (NSI). Population figures were obtained from the population estimates of the NSI.
While the suicide rate decreased between 2002 and 2012, the downward trend has reversed twice, in 2008–2009, and in 2012. This rise was particularly pronounced in males, with the rate ratio of 1.12 (95 % CI 1.05–1.20) in 2008 and 1.10 (95 % CI 1.03–1.18) in 2009. Following a decrease in 2010 and 2011, suicides among males have increased again in 2012—with RR of 1.10 (95 % CI 1.03–1.18) compared to 2007, however the difference between 2011 amounted to 14 % rise—the biggest interannual change in a decade. There was a similar but less pronounced pattern in females. Regional data showed variable results.
These results suggest that the Spanish economic crisis has been associated with suicide rates in 2008, 2009, and 2012. These findings are consistent with the double-dip recession that Spain experienced.