Purpose of review: Literature from the past year was examined to learn whether economic recessions have an effect on mental disorders including depression and suicides.
Recent findings: Economic recessions and crises have a context-dependent negative impact on mental health disorders. These appear in low-income and middle-income countries whereas some affluent countries are offering provisions that help unemployed persons to escape the detrimental consequences.
Summary: The Asian economic crisis led to a sharp unemployment-related increase in suicide mortality in east Asian countries. In European Union countries rising unemployment was associated with significant short-term increases in premature deaths from intentional violence including suicides. It seems that active labour market programmes existing in some Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries can prevent some adverse health effects of economic downturns. As mental health consequences of economic crises are context dependent, the current situation needs monitoring. Enough services for those in need should be provided and advocacy for societal support measures is of great importance.