Suicidal behavior is considered as the result of complex cognitive and emotional processes and it is a timeless, global and multifactorial phenomenon. Periods of financial crises in the past, such as the Great Depression in the USA in 1929 and the economic crises of Asia, Russia and Argentina in the late 1990s, have been associated with impairment of mental health of the economically affected. Unemployment, job insecurity, debts, poverty and social exclusion seems to lead to higher incidence of anxiety and depressive symptoms and increased suicidality. Alcohol and substance use and the reduction of the state budget for health services reinforce the negative effects of the economic recession on mental health. The financial crisis which currently affects many European countries began in 2008 and its impact on the mental health of European citizens is in progress. Greece is probably the most affected country by the European financial crisis. The aim of this study is to investigate the potential impact of the crisis’ consequences on the attempted suicide rates in the Athens population and the differentiation of suicide attempters on social, demographic and clinical-psychopathological parameters during the crisis. A retrospective study was conducted. The semi-structured records of 165 attempters who were hospitalized in the Internal Medicine Clinics of
the “Sotiria” General Hospital in Athens, after attempted suicide in the years 2007 and 2011, before and during the financial crisis respectively, were studied. Among suicide attempters 95(57.6%) were suffering from mental disorders. Most often diagnoses were these of mood disorders (n=60, 63.2%). Demographic data, current psychiatric disorder, previous suicide attempt and severity of psychopathology at the time of suicide attempt were recorded for each patient. Furthermore, the severity of each suicide attempt was estimated. Suicide attempts were 70 in 2007, before the financial crisis (mean age 36.9 years, 71% women) and 95 in 2011, during the financial crisis (mean age 41.0 years, women 65%). There is an increase of suicide attempts by 35.71%. There were no statistically significant differences between the two periods regarding the gender and age of attempters. There was a statistically significant increase of unemployed (p=0.004), as well as of married/widowed/divorced (p=0.02) suicide attempters during the crisis. There was not statistically significant difference in the severity of suicide attempts before and during the economic crisis or the severity of psychopathology of the attempters. The financial crisis is probably associated with upward trend in attempted suicide of the Athens population. Most affected are those who are unemployed, married, widowed, divorced. Suicide prevention programs are essential for the accurate and timely identification and the immediate and effective management of this special high risk group of attempters during the financial crisis.
Key words: Attempted suicide, financial crisis, social-demographic parameters, clinical-psychopathological parameters, Athens.
K. Stavrianakos, V. Kontaxakis, G. Moussas, K. Paplos, T. Papaslanis, B. Havaki-Kontaxaki, G.N. Papadimitriou (page 104) - Full article (Greek)