Greek statistics authority ELSTAT has released some rather grim statistics regarding the sharp increase of suicides in the past few years with the onset of the financial crisis.
According to ELSTAT there was 26.5% increase in 2011 compared to 2010 and 43% compared to 2007, the year before the crisis began. There were 328 suicides in 2007, 373 in 2008, 391 in 2009, 377 in 2010 and 477 in 2011. The “Klimaka” NGO however claims that many more suicides go undocumented.
The region with the highest suicide rate is Crete, where there 37 suicides in 2011, 49 in 2012 and 34 in 2013 (up to the end of August).The majority (35%) of callers at the NGO’s suicide help line (1018) are unemployed, followed by self-employed and pensioners.
The NGO also noted that their hotline used to receive phone calls mostly related to mental health issues, but in recent times social and financial issues are common. About 41% of callers contact the helpline out of concern for family member or friend.
A study involving the 26 EU member states indicates that a 1% increase of unemployment has triggered a 0.79% increase of suicides in the under-65’s; a 3% increase of unemployment has resulted in a 4.45% increase in suicides. The male 30-44 age group is hit the hardest.
As the 10th of September is the International Suicide Prevention Day, “Klimaka” has arranged an event for Tuesday at Klafthmonos Square, where the NGO will be handing out information on suicide prevention. A tribute will also be help for people who have committed suicide.
The Mental Health Mobile Unit of the Southeast Kyklades will hold similar events at its offices on Naxos, Ios, Amorgos and Santorini.