PARIS: Suicides in Greece surged by a third after the country implemented an austerity program in June 2011, health investigators said on Monday.
After the measures were passed, the number of suicides leapt by 35.7 percent compared to preceding months, they said.
The increase was sustained for the rest of 2011 and reached an all-time peak in 2012, the final year covered by the study.
Delving into anecdotal evidence that the toll of suicides had risen, researchers in the US and Greece looked at data for self inflicted deaths over a 30 year span, from January 1, 1983 to December 2012.
They looked at official figures provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority as well as “potentially misclassified” suicides.
These were deaths that were probably suicides but had been categorized as accidents, possibly because of religious taboo.
During the 30 years, 11,505 people were considered to have taken their own lives 9,079 men and 2,426 women.
The graph was then matched against 12 big economic events over the three decades.
Monthly suicides fell when the news was good: for instance, when the euro was launched in Greece in January 2002, a sharp but short lived fall of 27.1 percent occurred among men.
The monthly tally began to climb in October 2008 at the time of the financial crisis, rising by 13 percent among men.
It then shot up further in 2011 when the government pushed through the austerity package to secure an international bailout for Greece’s economy.