BRISTOL, England, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- About 5,000 "extra" suicides occurred in 54 countries in 2009, after the Great Recession, researchers from universities in Hong Kong and England say.
A paper, published in the British Medical Journal, suggested the 2008 global economic crisis could be to blame for the increase in rates in Europe and the Americas, particularly among males and in countries with higher levels unemployment.
The researchers from universities in Hong Kong, and Oxford and Bristol, England, used data from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook.
In 2009, the overall male suicide rate rose 3.3 percent in the 54 countries studied, with an excess of 5,000 male suicides -- but mainly in the 27 European countries and 18 American countries included.
The study found the largest increase in suicide in Europe was in men ages 15-24 and in men ages 45-64 in the Americas. There was no change in suicide in European females and a small increase was seen in females in the Americas, the researchers said.
Also in 2009, new European Union member states -- Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovenia -- showed the largest increase in male suicide rates at 13.3 percent within Europe.
The United States and Canada showed an 8.9 percent increase, and Caribbean and Central American countries showed a 6.4 percent increase in male suicides compared with a smaller increase in South American countries, the study found.