Do recession lead to more suicidal ideas/acts? Greek experience: World Psych. Feb 13


Suicide is a leading cause of death world-wide with one million committing suicide every year .Suicide is associated with mental disorders in more than 90% of cases. Socio economic factors are also linked to suicide.Periods of economic recession  are likely to increase depression and suicide.

 Greece  historically had a very low suicide rate. 1980’s recession increased suicidal thoughts among population significantly. 1978, the 1-month prevalence of suicidal ideation was  4.8%, whereas in 1984 it reached 10.9% . Greece started facing the most recent financial troubles in 2008 with unemployment reaching 17% in 2011. Is this recession also having the same effect?

MARINA ECONOMOU and team reports the results of two cross-sectional nationwide computer assisted telephonic interviews  conducted  ( adults aged between 18 and 69 years )  in 2009 and 2011  ie before and after the introduction of the unpopular economic policies of 2010.

Information about the occurrence of a major depressive episode, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts during the past month was collected. The degree of financial strain was measured by the Index of Personal Economic Distress (IPED).


In 2009 5.2% reported suicidal ideation. This increased to 6.7% in 2011. Increase was significant in men but not in women.This increased in married people but not in unmarried. Suicidal ideas particularly increased among those on psychotropic medications or in contact with mental health services.

Recent suicide attempt was reported by 1.1% in 2009 and 1.5% in 2011. Increase was among men, and married people. Unemployed respondents reported no attempts in 2009 survey, but this was 4.4% in 2011.

People suffering from depression, men, married individuals, people experiencing financial strain, people with low interpersonal trust, and those with a previous history of suicide attempts were par- ticularly vulnerable.

Conclusions:Suicidal ideas and attempts increase  with financial troubles. Some groups are particularly vulnerable. Individuals with mental health problems are particularly at risk.

Summary of the article:

Suicidal ideation and reported suicide attempts in Greece during the economic crisis.

Economou M, Madianos M, Peppou LE, Theleritis C, Patelakis A, Stefanis C.World Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;12(1):53-9.

One thought on “Do recession lead to more suicidal ideas/acts? Greek experience: World Psych. Feb 13

  1. umemployment is a major worry. even India is not free from such acts. Farmers suicide in Andhra Pradesh is major concern, which get reported in Newpapers.

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