Suicides up 22.5 percent in last three years

In what is probably the most gruesome chapter in the unfolding narrative of Greece?s financial crisis, data on Wednesday revealed a shocking surge in the number of suicides in the country during the past three years.

Police statistics made available to Greece?s lawmakers on Wednesday showed that 1,727 people took their own lives between 2009 and 2011. The number of suicides went up by 22.5 percent, rising from 507 in 2009 to 622 in 2010. A total of 598 people committed suicide last year, police said.

The number of attempted suicides has also gone up, data showed. ?Many [of the victims] do not even receive medical treatment, so there is no full record of people who try to take their own life,? Eleni Bekiari, a psychologist working with the Klimaka nongovernmental group, told Kathimerini, adding that ?there certainly is a connection between the economic crisis and the suicide rate.?

Before the crisis, Greece had one of the lowest suicide rates in Europe at 2.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.

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