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mental-health-concept

Quick Study: More Psychiatrists = More Suicides?

• November 08, 2013 • 12:00 PM

(ILLUSTRATION: FUSEBULB/<a href=

Does having a better mental-health system lead to higher suicide rates?

Countries with better mental-health systems also seem to have higher suicide rates. That’s the counter-intuitive conclusion of researchers from Denmark and India who examined detailed data on 191 nations.

Writing in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, the researchers report that, after adjusting for macroeconomic indicators including per capita GDP and income inequality, “both the number of psychiatrists, and the number of mental health beds, were significantly associated with higher national suicide rates.”

One explanation, the researchers speculate, may be that nations with fewer psychiatrists “may have better family cohesion and social connectedness.” Or it could just be that countries with better mental-health systems are also better at determining and recording causes of death.

Tom Jacobs
Staff writer Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Ventura County Star.

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