Austerity's Greek Death Toll: Study Connects Strict Measures to Rise in Suicides
The harsh economic policies implemented in Greece and other countries in recent years have been shown to have a detrimental effect on mental health and well-being. While this may seem obvious to some, many governments and policymakers don’t seem to have kept it in mind when causing entire populations to suffer under austerity measures.
Austerity measures in Greece resulted in a “significant, sharp, and sustained” increase in suicides, according to 30-year study published in the British Medical Journal this week.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, found that there was a 35 per cent rise in suicide cases in June 2011 – the same time as the government imposed further austerity measures to pay the country’s debts – which was sustained through 2012.
During the study – from 1 January 1983 to 31 December 2012 – researchers tracked the suicide rate and identified the effects of “austerity” and “prosperity” factors on the numbers.
“We found that perhaps it is the economic policies themselves, but also the public messaging of these policies by the government and the press that are both driving the changes in suicide,” [said Charles Branas, lead author of the study].
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata