Greece: suicides increased by 35.7% in response to austerity

Study reveals that the cases surged in May and July 2012

04 February, 11:34

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    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, FEBRUARY 4 - Suicides in Greece increased by about 1/3 in response to the austerity measures that were implemented in Greece in June of 2011, as daily To Vima online reports citing the results of a research published in British medical journal (BMJ). The study shows that a surge in suicides follows events related to austerity. The June 2011 announcement, regarding the second packages of austerity measures which involved wage cuts in the public sector and the cutting expenses in welfare, seems to have had the greatest impact. In the months that followed the announcement suicides increased by 35.7%. The researchers also noted that suicides amongst men increased by 13.1% after the Greek economy entered a recession in October 2008 and surged by 29.7% in April 2012, after a pensioner dramatically committed suicide on Syntagma Square. The number of suicides peaked in May and July of 2012, 62 and 64 respectively, the most documented in over 30 years. On the contrary, the lowest number of suicides were documented in February 1983 and November 1999 (14 each), which - financially - are considered more prosperous periods than the current one. Charles C. Branas, Professor of Epidemiology of the University of Pennsylvania, estimated that the rate of suicides is not only affected by the financial policies implemented, but the "public messages" that also accompany them. As such, he underlines that the media should be aware how their reports may have a negative impact on public health. (ANSAmed).

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