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The lack of prevention increases the number of suicides

10 September 2013 / 21:09:33  GRReporter
2162 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Suicidal people do not want to kill themselves but the pain which is making it difficult for them to live, as stated by psychologists while describing the condition of the people who have decided to commit suicide. They also emphasize that more than 90% of the people who have attempted to commit suicide or have indicated their intention to do so are suffering from a mental disease. Only in 10% of the cases can it be argued that the main reason for someone to commit suicide is related to the economic crisis and its impact on people's lives.

However, the number of suicides has increased in recent years which the Greek National Statistical Office and the police have also confirmed. According to the recent official data, 477 suicides had been recorded in 2011. Their number has been confirmed by the non-governmental organization "Klimaka" which operates the first and only hotline called "Intervention for Suicide 1018".

On the day of suicide prevention the organization presented alarming data showing increases both in the number of completed and attempted suicides and in the number of people who are seeking help.

"The situation is alarming in Europe where 172 people commit suicide every day. Globally, the number of suicides is higher than the number of people dying during wars and the number of suicides in Greece is 2 to 3 times higher than that of murders," said psychiatrist Kyriakos Katsadoros.

According to the statistical data of the organization, a suicide is being committed in Greece every 18 hours and is being attempted every 45 minutes. “This is mainly due to the lack of prevention. By comparison, from 1995 to 2005, 1,552 people died from AIDS, for which different measures of prevention have been applied. The number of suicides in the same period was 3,500," he said.

Suicidal persons' profile:

Man - middle-aged , married, with financial problems

Woman - young, married, with mental health problems

Men commit suicide more often than women. Of the 477 cases in 2011, 393 of the victims were male and 84 female. The most common methods of suicide used by men include hanging, use of firearms and falls from heights whereas women prefer hanging, falls from heights and poisoning with medicines.

"The first attempt is mostly unsuccessful. We call it a "rehearsal for death" figuratively. The problem is that half of these people will do it again and 20% will try to commit suicide again within one year after the first failed attempt. This leads to accumulation and to an increase in the number of the cases," the psychiatrists from "Klimaka" explain.

According to them, this is due to the lack of prevention. "People are being discharged from psychiatric institutions and nobody informs their families that they should be watched. Another factor is that stigma still exists with all its consequences."

The statistics obtained from the calls to the hotline is indicative too. In 2012, 4,000 people called, 53% of whom were directly involved, i.e. potential suicides, and 47% were their relatives, friends, institutions and others. 50.6% of the callers were women and 49.4% men.

"20.9% said they were unemployed, 6.5% freelancers, 6% retired, 5.6% were private sector employees and 5.5% students. Some kind of mental disorder had not been stated only in 2% of the cases," the organization explains. The highest was the number of representatives of the age groups of 16-25 and 36-45, followed by 26-35 and 46-55. The most common causes among young people aged 15-17 years are related to their sexual orientation.
 
The psychiatrists paid particular attention to the social and economic consequences of suicides and suicide attempts, explicitly stating that the increase in their number should not be associated with the effects of the economic crisis. This statement is not only circulating in the public domain but some opposition parties are skilfully using it as an argument against the government’s policy.

Tags: SocietySuicidesPreventionMental diseaseKlimaka
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