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Political speculation or is the increase in the number of suicides in Greece due to the crisis

23 November 2012 / 19:11:06  GRReporter
2032 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

"A 71-year old man committed suicide in Syntagma Square to protest against the economic policy of the government." "Two 20-year old girls from Athens committed suicide after being laid off from work." "The crisis continues to claim human victims." "3,000 is the number of suicides in Greece since the outbreak of the crisis."

Scary headlines that appear in small and sometimes in the central media and cause tirades of accusations against the "merciless" government and the hateful supervisory Troika "which have driven so many people to the decision to take their own lives because of unemployment, excessive taxes and severe cuts."

The fact that the majority of resounding headlines are not confirmed by official sources or that the man who shot himself in Syntagma square was a former mentally ill pharmacist who had decided to express his political views in this extreme way rarely has the same impact.

On the contrary, some parties often use these publications to win the support of the Greeks, who dream of the day when the situation in the country will return to the not-so-distant 2008. Then, when life was good and many of them deeply believed that Greece would remain unaffected by the global economic crisis.

Intentionally or not, left and right parties that belong to both extremes of the political spectrum take unfair advantage of the number of suicides. The question was recently posed by Dimitris Stratoulis, a deputy of SYRIZA, the leader of Independent Greeks Panos Kamenos and the leader of Golden Dawn Nikos Mihaloliakos.

It reached parliament this week after SYRIZA deputies Stathis Panagoulis and Nasos Athanasiou demanded official data on cases of malnourished children and suicides.

In response, the Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, Nikos Dendias, stressed what all psychologists and psychiatrists state: that suicide is not the result of just one factor, but the presence of internal and external reasons, such as social, professional and family environment, plays a role too and of course, the mental state of the individual.

From that point on, the numbers are very specific and sufficient to prove the speculation with the tragic phenomenon. According to the police’s official figures, the number of attempted and committed suicides in Greece was 677 in 2009, 830 in 2010, 927 in 2011 and 690 by 23 August this year."

All those who have been following the events in the country in recent years know that the Greek government signed the bailout agreement in early May 2010. But even if we assume that the effects of the bailout affect the 12 months of the year in question, the increases in the number of suicides compared to 2009, when no one knew what the country would go through months later are as follows: +153 in 2010, + 250 in 2011, and +13 to 23 August 2012. This is 416 and it is far less than the appalling figure of 3,000.

As commentators state, the bailout agreement has imposed measures that the Greek government should anyway have taken to reduce the budget deficit and debt. "We would have been forced to start making sharp changes and cuts literally within 24 hours, which actually would have had catastrophic consequences for the people and especially for the financially weaker ones."

According to them, the scary statistics would be quite unnecessary if the front against the bailout was not trying to take full advantage of the startling decision of hundreds of people to take their own lives. Their sole purpose is to present these cases as evidence of their political positions, to increase dramatically the numbers and to gain supporters while keeping silent about the consequences of the disastrous "other way" they offer.

GRReporter has recently presented the results of a study by the National Centre of Public Health Protection in Bulgaria, according to which the number of suicides has sharply increased although the country's fiscal situation is radically different from that in Greece. The poor financial situation and unemployment are just one of the many factors that must be combined with a severe mental disorder, is the opinion of experts, all of which denounces the attempts of political extremes in Greece to capitalize on human weakness in order to gain new voters.

Tags: SocietySuicidesPolitical extremesSpeculation
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