The economic crisis in Europe and North America led to more than 10,000 extra suicides, according to figures from UK researchers.
Campaign groups said the findings showed how important good mental health services were.
The study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine analysed data from 24 EU countries, the US and Canada.
Unemployment, repossessions and debt. It said suicides had been declining in Europe until 2007. By 2009 there was a 6.5% increase, a level that was sustained until 2011.
It was the equivalent of 7,950 more suicides than would have been expected if previous trends continued, the research group said.
Deaths by suicide were also falling in Canada, but there was a marked increase when the recession took hold in 2008, leading to 240 more suicides. The number of people taking their own life was already increasing in the US, but the rate “accelerated” with the economic crisis, leading to 4,750 additional deaths. The report said losing a job, having a home repossessed and being in debt were the main risk factors.However, some countries bucked the trend. Sweden, Finland and Austria all avoided increases in the suicide rate during the recession.