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Austerity linked to huge rise in Greek suicides

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Austerity linked to huge rise in Greek suicides
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Greece has been bumping along in the very depths of recession for years now, so as Europe contemplates more years of austerity or rethinking its economic plans, it could look to that country’s experiences.

A Greek charity says suicides there increased by 45 percent during the first four years of the country’s financial crisis.

In 2009, 677 people attempted or succeeded in committing suicide. In 2012 that number rose to 3,124 people, according to the Greek Ministry of Public Order.

“Economic issues are not the only reason for suicide, one does not necessarily bring the other, but everywhere in Europe where unemployment has increased so has suicide. When unemployment falls so do suicides, the indicators seem to move at the same time, they seem to have a relationship,” said the Kilimata Suicide Prevention Centre’s Aris Violatzis.

Other social problems have also increased according to health industry workers. More and more people have turned to drugs in response to the economic crisis, and unemployment.

“The state must handle the personal problems that people are facing. Behind the numbers are people, and human pain, and economists must not ignore this,” said Professor of Psychiatry Marina Oikonomou.

The Kilimata group is urging the Athens government to adopt plans to create a national strategy against the rise in suicides, with improved data gathering and training for police and health care workers.