Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Suicides in Greece rise by a third as financial crisis takes its toll

Since 2010, more than 2,500 people have taken their own lives in Greece.
Also on the rise is the usage of anti-depressant drugs

- Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said 'there will be more hardship'
- The newspaper Ta Nea describes the mood among Greeks as a 'society on the verge of a nervous breakdown'
- Mr Samaras will hold talks next week with euro zone leaders to propose that measures be spread over a longer period of time

PUBLISHED: 14:50 EST, 15 August 2012 | UPDATED: 14:50 EST, 15 August 2012

The suicide rate is skyrocketing in Greece as the economic catastrophe engulfing the nation shows no signs of letting up.

A sun-kissed land with once the lowest recorded suicide rates in Europe, Greece has seen a huge spike in people taking their own lives.

Experts believe that not all suicides are the result of depression; some are ending it all in an act of ultimate political protest.

Greece used to have the lowest recorded suicide rates in Europe. Recently, there has been a spike in people taking their own lives, however more than 2,500 people have taken their own lives since 2010.
'This is the number for confirmed suicides. We think the real number is much higher,' said psychiatrist Dimitris Boukouras. He mans a psyhiatric hotline that rings off the hook every day.

Greece, which is headed for an autumn bankruptcy unless it does more to reign in spending and release fresh IMF funds worth 40 billion euros, saw 50 deaths and a further 350 suicide attempts in the capital Athens in June alone. Deaths are rising across the country and on the numerous islands that surround Greece.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will next week hold his first meetings with euro zone leaders since taking office, striving to assure them he will honour a pledge for more austerity and gauging whether they could grant him more time to pull it off.

Mr Samaras will insist he can ram through an austerity package worth about 11.5 billion euros ($14.2 billion) - a key condition to continue receiving EU/IMF bailout funds and avoid default and a possible exit from the currency club.

Greece has yet to nail down the requested austerity package.

The bulk of the cuts will come from state salaries and pensions, and up to 40,000 public sector firings, further angering an austerity-weary public that often takes to the streets. The coalition's two leftist junior partners have also opposed any further cuts.
Mr Samaras said: 'We're all having a difficult time. There will be more hardship'.

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