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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Why is suicide on the rise in the US – but falling in most of Europe?

Steven Stack
The Conversation
Originally published June 28, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

There is evidence that rising suicide rates are associated with a weakening of the social norms regarding mutual aid and support.

In one study on suicide in the U.S., the rising rates were closely linked with reductions in social welfare spending between 1960 and 1995. Social welfare expenditures include Medicaid, a medical assistance program for low income persons; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children; the Supplemental Security Income program for the blind, disabled and elderly; children’s services including adoption, foster care and day care; shelters; and funding of public hospitals for medical assistance other than Medicaid.

Later studies found a similar relationship between suicide and social welfare for the U.S. in the 1980s and between 1990 and 2000, as well as for nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Economic Development.

When it comes to spending on social welfare, the U.S. is at the low end of the spectrum relative to Western Europe. For example, only 18.8 percent of the U.S. GDP is spent on social welfare, while most of the OECD nations spend at least 25 percent of their GDP. Our rates of suicide are increasing while their rates fall.

The information is here.
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