According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) at least one million people commit suicide worldwide every year.
Therefore WHO has declared September 10 to be World Day for Suicide Prevention in order to bring the attention of the international community to this sad fact.
Dramatic data are noted in Greece as well, as suicidal tendencies increase due to the economic crisis.
Kiriakos Katsadoros is a psychiatrist and supervisor of the telephone line “Suicide intervention 1018″ (available 24 hours a day across Greece, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance), which operates within the Organization for Development and Social capital for overcoming social inclusion “Klimaka” (translation – “Scale”). He states that the received calls to the telephone line for the first eight months of 2011 have doubled compared to 2010 and one out of every four callers mention that they have financial problems, which confirms that a vicious circle of hardship, which is exacerbated by the economic crisis, acts as one of the decisive factors with negative effects on mental health.
Characteristically, phone calls to 1018 in 2010 exceeded 2,500, while only in the first eight months of 2011 they are over 5,000.
“It is disturbing not only the fact that there is a huge increase in calls, but that the reason why these people seek help is differentiated. In 2008 and 2009 most of the callers had mental problems. Those who are now turning to us have financial problems and are at impasse,” says Katsadoros.
As he points out, suicide can be prevented as long as closer and more distant social circles are involved, because the one who intends to end his life exhibits certain characteristics, such as increasing alcohol consumption, insomnia, skepticism and introversion.
As Kiriakos Katsadoros points out, “Klimaka” Organization plans to launch a major information program in order to mobilize professional groups who come into contact with many people, e.g. taxi drivers, hairdressers etc.
Tomorrow, members of “Klimaka” will leave for Beijing to participate in the International Congress for Suicide Prevention. When they return, and based on the new gathered data, they will start the campaign for public awareness.
“What Greece needs is the creation of a technical strategy for suicide prevention “, underlines Kiriakos Katsadoros, adding that “Klimaka” will be working in this direction.
Organization “Klimaka” – founded in Greece since 2007 – indicated in its message that “the marking of September 10 brought particular thoughts due to the current economic crisis and unemployment. WHO warns that the economic crisis and uncertainty caused by it can lead to an increase in suicides, which usually are recorded more frequently when a person is unemployed rather than employed.”
As “Klimaka” stresses, the figures speak for themselves and report development of a global phenomenon, for which experts warn in Greece.
In particular in Greece suicides are 2-3 times more than homicides. Moreover, from 1995 to 2005, 3,500 people have committed suicide, while deaths from AIDS from 1982 to 2007 were 1,552.
Traditionally, Greece occupies one of the last places in the European ranking based on index of suicide mortality. According to the Greek Statistical Office processed by “Klimaka”, 4,042 people in Greece committed suicide from 1999 to 2009, from them 3,288 were men and 754 women (male to female ratio – 4 to 1).
However, in recent years, suicides in Greece show an upward trend. In 2009, there were 393 suicides (333 men and 58 women), compared with 328 suicides in 2007 (268 men and 60 women). At the same time there are no official data on the failed suicide attempts, which are believed to be 10 to 20 times more (according to WHO).
The majority of suicides in Greece are done in a violent way, and particularly by hanging. In 2009, 57% of men and 55% of women have put an end to their lives that way. The second most common method for men is the use of firearms (the most common hunting rifle), while for women – poisoning.
In 2009, most suicide cases in Greece are men aged between 50 and 59 years (67 cases). In women, most suicides are committed in the age groups 30 to 39 years (11 cases) and from 40 to 49 years (11 cases). However, the highest mortality indicators from suicide for both men and women are registered in the age group 80 years and older, a fact which indicates an increased risk of suicide for the elderly.
As stressed, the increased number of suicides is directly linked to the economic crisis, as unemployment increased by 1% increases the index by 1.5 deaths per 100 000 people in the European Union.
An unemployed person is 2-3 more likely to encroach on their lives than an employed one, while unemployment increased by 3% leads to an increase of 4.5 percent of suicides among the population.
Young people who do not work are in higher risk of developing a mental illness compared with the employed youth, while people with large debts are 2-3 times more at risk to develop severe depression or other mental illness than the general population and inability to pay debts can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Job insecurity that contemporary workers feel increases the likelihood of a mental disorder by 33 percent.
Because of the seriousness of the suicide problem, “Klimaka” has done extensive work to prevent and overcome the phenomenon in Greece, which includes research and publications, training of different professional groups, information seminars, radio and television clips, interviews in the media, printed information materials and events.
As part of their activities to inform public opinion and on the occasion of the World Day for Suicide Prevention, tonight at 06:00 for the third time “Klimaka” will perform the event “Dance for Life”.
This is a dance event, which will take place in “Thisio” featuring volunteer dancers, but also the audience.
The event will take place under the auspices of the General Secretariat of the new generation, in cooperation with social partners “Klimax plus” and the support of the Municipality of Athens.