Increase in minimum wage can avert suicides, recent study states


Washington D.C [USA], Jan 10 (ANI): Even a dollar can save lives. A new study suggests that increasing salaries even by one dollar can help reduce suicide rates in the United States. The recent study observed data for a span of the past 25 years, reports CNN news. Published last week in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists have shared that approximately 3.4 per cent to 5.9 per cent suicides can be eliminated with this minimal investment. According to the 2017 report, 1.4 million US citizens suicide attempts among adults and amidst them around 48,000 deaths as a result of suicide was recorded. Of all the suicidal, 1.7 per cent were unemployed US adults in 2017 than 0.4 per cent of full-time employees and 0.7 per cent of part-time workers, the study said. When trying to find out the influence of minimum wage policy, the researchers found that in maximum cases financial constraints and debt due to job-loss led to suicidal tendencies. The gap between hourly minimum wages in the state and federal sector in the fifty states and the Columbia as compared with those numbers with the unemployment and suicide rates every month between 1990 and 2015 provided them with an answer. The present federal minimum pay is $7.25 per hour, and 29 states and the District of Columbia pay higher, while the other 21 states pay around the federal rate only. If the belt of payment increased by $1 between 2009 and 2015 -- following peak unemployment in 2009 -- the team of researchers estimates that almost 13,800 suicides could have been prevented among people in that age group with a high school education or less. A mere $2 hike in the minimum wage could have averted approximately 25,900 suicides in the same period, the study says. Form 1990 till 2015, 399,206 people with a high school degree or less committed suicide as compared with 140, college degree or higher education holders. In this period, according to the study, a $1 increase in the state's minimum wage policy could have saved 27,550 suicide deaths among those ages 18-64 with a high school education or less. Researchers share that if $2 could have been increased, it would have prevented 57,350 suicides among the same group in during the time period. "Our findings are consistent with the notion that policies designed to improve the livelihoods of individuals with less education, who are more likely to work at lower wages and at higher risk for adverse mental health outcomes, can reduce the suicide risk in this group," the authors of the study said in a statement. "Our findings also suggest that the potential protective effects of a higher minimum wage are more important during times of high unemployment," they added. There has been a link between suicides and employment stability, earlier studies have stated. An earlier study conducted in December 2019 also discovered a connection between automotive assembly plant closing and higher opioid death rates among working adults. The study suggested that economic instability leads to 'deaths of despair' that comprises of suicides along with deaths due to drug and alcohol consumption. (ANI)