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In Europe, Crisis-Provoked Suicide on the Rise

Tally the fatal, unhappy costs of runaway capitalism. Across Europe, businessmen unable to cope with the world made by the 2008 economic crash are taking their lives.

Like countless others, George Mordaunt, a 44-year-old resident of Ireland who watched all but one of his family’s car dealerships close down in the wake of the crisis, has lain awake at night considering suicide while his family sleeps. Given political leaders’ failure to save a languishing public, he wonders what it will take for him and others to help themselves.

“How many other people lie awake at night with the same fears?” he asked. “How many people are on the verge of losing everything? Everyone in Ireland must become active in our rescue.

“We don’t communicate and don’t share because we are laced with unreal pride. My view is you become active and stand up to the banks.”

— ARK

The New York Times:

In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, government statistics show. In Ireland during the same period, suicides among men rose more than 16 percent. In Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent, to 187 in 2010 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — from 123 in 2005.

Researchers say the trend has intensified this year as government austerity measures took hold and compounded the hardships for many. While suicides often have many complex causes, researchers have found that severe economic stress corresponds to higher suicide rates.

“Financial crisis puts the lives of ordinary people at risk, but much more dangerous is when there are radical cuts to social protection,” said David Stuckler, a sociologist at the University of Cambridge, who led a study published in The Lancet that found a sharp rise in suicides across Europe, particularly in seriously affected countries like Greece and Ireland from 2007 to 2009, years that coincided with the downturn.

“Austerity can turn a crisis into an epidemic,” Mr. Stuckler added.

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