People claiming benefits are up to six times more likely to commit suicide than men and women in work, according to new research published on Wednesday.
The research was carried out by The Hague health board, national statistics office CBS and Leiden University’s medical centre. The researchers analysed the backgrounds of the 15,178 people who committed suicide in the Netherlands in the 10 years between 2002 and 2011.
‘We expected to see more suicides under benefit claimants but the differences were very notable,’ researcher Renske Gilissen told the Volkskrant. ‘Single men are considered more likely to commit suicide but being on benefits would also appear to be an important factor.’
The research showed men on benefits were 4.5 times more likely to kill themselves, while women on benefits were six times as likely.
The number of suicides in the Netherlands has risen steadily since 2007, when there were 1,345 deaths. Last year, there were 1,753 suicides. International studies have shown a link between rising unemployment and a rising suicide rate, the Volkskrant said.
The researchers said more must be done to train social security officials, debt councillors and the police to spot signs of depression.