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Suicide and acts of extreme behaviour will become increasingly frequent-2

11 March 2012 / 08:03:54  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

 

Manifestations of extreme behaviour of people whose lives are completely changed by the crisis, and who feel powerless to respond to this become increasingly frequent. Only a week ago an armed former employee of a factory in Komotini wounded its owner, an officer and a policeman in an attempt to request in this way some due money as well as his return to work.

Even more serious is the situation in the public sector, where until recently the employees believed they would have a guaranteed job and salary until their retirement. By the end of 2015, 150,000 people are to be laid off, while unemployment is already at record levels.

What makes people resort to extreme actions like suicide attempts and threatening the lives of others and will this phenomenon grow in the next period? We sought the answers to these questions from psychiatrist Kyriakos Katsadoros, president of the NGO "Klimaka."

"The economic crisis that we are currently living in and which is increasingly growing is a stressful situation. It occurs gradually and begins to take various forms in our mind, depending on our character and vulnerability. By vulnerability I mean the mental state of a person who under the influence of stressful situations can cause problems not only to himself but also to the surrounding environment. There are people who come to depressive outbursts and even talk of suicide. Many of them even do it.

Similarly, another type of human nature can go to extremes and do things that are similar to, but the opposite of suicide. Instead of harming themselves, they transfer all their anger and tendency to suicide towards others. Such an example is the case of the employee who had not received a salary for one year and the company owed him a certain amount. At some point in the state of his own psyche, he didn’t have many opportunities to react. He would’ve either committed suicide or threatened with a rifle his alleged "enemy" in the person of his former employer. To punish him, because he considers him to be guilty of everything".

According to the psychiatrist these extreme reactions are going to become more common. "It is no coincidence that suicide rates have increased by 20-25 per cent and the victims are mainly people of working age. It is no accident also that the number of cases of extreme reactions of people in society with or without arms has also increased". As a typical example he pointed to the members of whole societies, in particular the Roma, which is supported by the Klimaka organization.

"While their behaviour was moderate until recently, they have already started to steal in order to survive. We are shocked by the number of crimes, which have increased so much that it is already becoming difficult to conduct actions among them, although so far their attitude towards us has been very friendly. They stared stealing from each other, using different kinds of violence. They take the decision to use weapons much more readily than before. This is something creepy, having in mind the consequences for the society. Both among themselves, and within the rest of society.

On the other hand we see how prisons are increasingly being filled up. The same people are arrested for the second, third, fourth time within a very short period of time. We monitor these processes. The new homeless people for example very rarely direct their efforts to offences. They are marginalized in different ways by society. And by this I mean that the reaction of each person depends on his own mental state and character. One takes a gun and threatens people, someone else threatens the country itself in the same way, another person might commit suicide, while others go to Syntagma Square and direct their reaction against the society, which gives rise to a problem".

According to the specialist all these people could customize this reaction and not express it collectively. "They could start stealing and resort to other ways through which to balance the problems they face. The accumulation of problems is so slow and gradual and the impact of the environment on people is so great that they cannot easily escape from it. So far, the crisis has seriously affected some people, others to a lesser degree, and some others it has not affected at all. People who are already affected by it find different ways to escape it".

A mature society would react to the situation with understanding and would seek ways to solve its problems, says Kyriakos Katsadoros. "I'm not sure if Greek society was mature enough to manage to cope with this. My opinion is that it was extremely neurotic. We lived in wealth and prosperity, in one Greece, where everyone was only interested in himself. Our society never managed to start thinking collectively, to think about the person next to us. Greek society has shaped in a very strange way. Surely a large part of the blame for this lies with the government, but society should not ignore the problem because it was precisely us who voted for those who governed. Unfortunately, I do believe that suicide and criminal activities are yet to break forth. I think we are not yet aware of what exactly is happening. It comes gradually."

Prevention could advert many situations and even save means, but it has not been developed in Greece over the years. "Prevention is a strategy, an organized state structure, which looks to the future. Just consider the fact that 85-95 percent of the suicide cases could be prevented this way. Only if we knew the symptoms that a person ready to go to an extreme demonstrates. Similarly, we could have handled all extreme behaviours in society. But in Greece we do not follow the logic of foresight. That's precisely what I mean by maturity of the society. A mature nation would be provident and would think about the future. We were unable to even provide for the people who pay insurance to be able to receive their pensions".

According to Kyriakos Katsadoros Greece was not ready for situations like this one. He believes, however, that this could turn out to be positive. "This crisis might make us better people. This is not a judgment, but a wish"

In times of crisis extreme views find expression and support very easily. "These include suicide, extreme reactions and extreme political reactions. They are related to the underdevelopment of the society. People cannot get away from extremes and meet together to find some middle way. Not to find leaders but people who could govern us in a dignified manner."

Does he really see this happening? "I would like it to happen. And I think at some point it will happen whether we want it or not. It is not possible to always look for the "perfect" leader of the country, it is not possible to always feel the constant need for such people. Let them be. But what is really needed is for us to become more mature and be able to cope on our own. As it is with children. They need their parents, but at some point they become adults and must come out into the world alone, in order to find their place in society. Greek people do not do that, they only have requests. They say "It’s not my fault, he’s to be blamed". Well, this mechanism is neurotic. We must finally try to understand to what extent we ourselves are the ones to blame for everything that happens."

In addition to the telephone line "Intervention for suicide 1018," which we "can barely keep up with", the organization "Klimaka" works for the establishment of such line for people who are one step away from ending up homeless on the street. Among their projects is also the creation of such a line for people who end up in prison too often for crimes related to the consequences of the economic crisis.

 

Tags: Society suicide extreme behaviour criminal acts psychiatrist crisis
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