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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163

Abstract

MADIANOS, Michael G.; ALEXIOU, Tatiana; PATELAKIS, Athanasios  and  ECONOMOU, Marina. Suicide, unemployment and other socioeconomic factors: evidence from the economic crisis in Greece. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2014, vol.28, n.1, pp.39-49. ISSN 0213-6163.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4321/S0213-61632014000100004.

Background and Objectives: Economic adverse conditions are acknowledged as having a major impact on the exacerbation of mental disorders and suicides. The severity of current European crisis and the local unrelenting spending is affecting largely the economy of Greece. Methods: The aim of this study was to explore changes in suicides and their possible association with macroeconomic and behavioural factors. Data for the period 1990-2011 were drawn mainly from the Hellenic Statistical Authority and Eurostat. Suicide mortality rates were correlated with economic and behavioural factors. Results: Suicide mortality rates were increased by 55.8% between 2007 and 2011 while the total mortality was increased by 1.1% only. Significantly increasing trends in public debt, unemployment rates, consumption of daily units of antidepressants as well as divorces per 1000, homicides per 100,000 and persons with HIV per 100,000 were also observed. Suicides have been found to bear strong correlation with unemployment (r. 0.64). Significant associations were also found between suicide mortality and the percentage of public debt as percentage of GDP, the incidence of infections from HIV and homicides. Conclusions: People suffering from income and job losses, living in a demoralized social state caused by severe austerity measures and restrictive health policies, are exposed to risks for developing depression or commit suicide.

Keywords : Suicide; Unemployment; Public debt; Antidepressants; Economic factors.

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