Between 1962 and 1971 the United Kingdom suicide rate fell while the unemployment rate rose, contrary both to earlier British experience and recent trends in other developed countries. It is hypothesised that the "British anomaly" is due to the coincident detoxification of domestic gas after 1963. Unemployment and suicide by means other than domestic gas were found to correlate +0.88 between 1955 and 1980, and +0.70 between 1964 and 1974. These findings are discussed with respect to the role of availability of method in the epidemiology of suicide. It is also suggested that the relation between unemployment and suicide is complex and probably largely indirect.
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