This was a retrospective ecological study to examine the relationship between suicide rates and economic indicators in large Brazilian urban centers. Data on macroeconomic indicators (GDP and unemployment rates) and suicide rates of the largest Brazilian cities were collected from January 2006 to December 2015.
Six cities were included in the study: Porto Alegre in the South, Recife and Salvador in the Northeast, and Belo Horizonte, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the Southeast region. We observed a 4% increase in the age-adjusted suicide rate in these large Brazilian urban centers from 2006 to 2015, which is less pronounced than the 9% increase in the national rates of suicide observed in the same period.
The effect of economic indicators was heterogeneous among the centers, but, overall, the variation in suicide rates was inversely related to unemployment and did not show a significant relationship with GDP. These findings indicate a more complex link between economics and suicide whenever looking at local regional indicators. Further research should focus on possible intervening factors, what may inform better preventive interventions.
aDepartment of Psychiatry, Universidade Federal de São Paulo – UNIFESP, São Paulo, Brazil
bGlobal Mental Health Program, Columbia University, New York, USA
Correspondence to Elson Asevedo, Department of Psychiatry, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo – UNIFESP, Rua Borges Lagoa, 570 São Paulo, Brazil. Tel: +55 11 5576 4990; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org