“Austerity” measures implemented during the country’s economic crises have been linked to increases in suicides in Greece, according to a study in BMJ Open.
The team of researchers based in Greece, the US and UK examined month-by-month data on a total of 11,505 suicides in Greece between 1983 and the end of 2012, finding jumps in suicide rates of almost 30% after key economic events.
“In 30 years, the highest months of suicide in Greece occurred in 2012,” they wrote. “The passage of new austerity measures in June 2011 marked the beginning of significant, abrupt and sustained increases in total suicides and male suicides… Suicides by men in Greece also underwent a significant, abrupt and sustained increase in October 2008 when the Greek recession began…”
“Select austerity-related events in Greece corresponded to statistically significant increases for suicides overall, as well as for suicides among men and women,” they concluded. “The consideration of future austerity measures should give greater weight to the unintended mental health consequences that may follow and the public messaging of these policies and related events.”
MinnPost discussed the study with reference to an earlier, somewhat similar study which many people had dismissed, and argued that this new one addressed some of the critics’ questions.
Branas, Charles C., Anastasia E. Kastanaki, Manolis Michalodimitrakis, John Tzougas, Elena F. Kranioti, Pavlos N. Theodorakis, Brendan G. Carr, and Douglas J. Wiebe. “The Impact of Economic Austerity and Prosperity Events on Suicide in Greece: A 30-Year Interrupted Time-Series Analysis.” BMJ Open 5, no. 1 (January 1, 2015): e005619. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005619. (Abstract and full text)
Study links Greece’s austerity measures to much higher rate of suicide (MinnPost, February 3, 2015)