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Collective levels of stigma and national suicide rates in 25 European countries

Schomerus, G., Evans-Lacko, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-4691-2630, Rüsch, N., Mojtabai, R., Angermeyer, M. C. and Thornicroft, G. (2015) Collective levels of stigma and national suicide rates in 25 European countries. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 24 (02). pp. 166-171. ISSN 2045-7960

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S2045796014000109


AIMS: There is substantial diversity in national suicide rates, which has mainly been related to socio-economic factors, as well as cultural factors. Stigma is a cultural phenomenon, determining the level of social acceptance or rejection of persons with mental illness in a society. In this study, we explore whether national suicide rates are related to the degree of mental illness stigma in that country. METHODS: We combine the data on country-level social acceptance (Eurobarometer) with the data on suicide rates and socio-economic indicators (Eurostat) for 25 European countries. RESULTS: In a linear regression model controlling for socio-economic indicators, the social acceptance of someone with a significant mental health problem in 2010 was negatively correlated with age standardised national suicide rates in the same year (β -0.46, p = 0.014). This association also held true when combining national suicide rates with death rates due to events of undetermined intent. CONCLUSIONS: Stigma towards persons with mental health problems may contribute to differences in suicide rates in a country. We hypothesise possible mechanisms explaining this link, including stigma as a stressor and social isolation as a consequence of stigma.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2015 13:32
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:17

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