Economic Depression Continues to Spur on Suicides in Europe

Greece and Italy are normally associated with beautiful sea views, earthy food and vibrant culture. In the last few years, however, these countries have also experienced some of the worst economic hardships as the European and global economies have weakened.

Last month a retired Greek man, Dimitris Christoulas, shot himself in a public square in Athens. In a report issued by CBS News, the retired pharmacist committed suicide due to the debt crisis in Greece and the resultant austerity measures that have brought many Greek families to the brink of ruin. The number of suicides increased by about 40 percent in the second half of 2011 and has continued to pose a problem in Greece. NPR has stated that about 30 percent of Greek families live below the poverty line.

Christoulas’ suicide sparked a number of protests in the streets in Greece. He became an icon of the severity that has plunged so many families into poverty.

Italy has also been at the front of headlines recently for a rash of suicides intimately connected with economic problems. Just this week, three people committed suicide, leaving tragic notes that revealed their despair at their inability to find new employment. There have been 34 suicides related to economic hardships in Italy since January, according to NBC News.

The Italian government owes many entrepreneurs up to $90 million and “some have been waiting to be paid for up to two years.” And these suicides are often committed by businessmen who have watched their businesses fail, or male family members who have lost a significant source of income.

An association near Asolo in Italy started a crisis helpline for those who have felt distress, but family members of potential suicide cases are more likely to call in asking for help than the men who are at risk.

And the Mediterranean region is not the only area to be hit by rising suicide numbers in the world. Both Ireland and the United Kingdom have experienced a rise in the number of suicides over the last few years, according to the BBC, quoting a 2011 Lancet report that pinned a rise in suicides in the UK at a 10 percent increase between 2007 and 2009.

And while many people have been affected by unemployment and rising rates of depression and suicide in the eurozone, there has also been a major backlash towards continued austerity measures. Greek voters have summarily rejected any continued austerity measures. The newly-elected French president, François Hollande, has also demanded that new growth initiatives be put in place with a shift away from austerity measures that cut off families in need of assistance, as the Telegraph cites.

The tense environment in the eurozone has forced European Union leaders to call a meeting for May 25, in which they will attempt to come up with a solution to the looming Greek debt that threatens the security of the continent. Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel are sure to come to heads over the best way to approach the economic issues facing the European Union.

Related Stories:

Dramatic Rise in “Suicides by Economic Crisis” in Europe

Where’s the Vatican in Italy’s Economic Crisis?

Financial Crisis Leads to Soaring Suicide Rates in Europe


Photo Credit: Philly boy92


Huber F.
Huber F6 years ago

Is there any way out of this?

Stanley Rampersad
Stanley Balgobin6 years ago

SUICIDE WORLDWIDE OWS LINKTV Arrest 2 KOCHroaches; adelson, evil Wall street crooks, Vampire CEO's, Vulture Capitalist Banks; Parasite politicians. Suicide, Suicide. Police State, USA

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener6 years ago

Because some unethical bastards refuse to take any responsibility... hope they choke on their euros!

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim6 years ago

Very sad to hear just how bad the situation is for so many people. I hope they can think of a way to fix things, and fast!

David Fletch
David Fletch6 years ago

continued• After maternity leave, employees are entitled to return to the same job in which they were employed before taking leave. Employers cannot dismiss female employees during pregnancy and until the child is one year old, except in certain circumstances
• After childbirth, in addition to the maternity and paternity rights above, male and female employees can take parental leave for up to six months each (with an overall limit of ten months together), until the child is eight years old. Single parents are entitled to ten months' leave. Employees receive an allowance amounting to 30% of their salary during parental leave, for an overall maximum of six months, until the child is three years old.
• Both employers and employees must pay social security contributions. Contributions are paid on a monthly basis and the rate depends on the type of business that the company carries out and the employees' position within the company (that is, whether they are blue-collar employees, white-collar employees, managers or executives).
• Social security contributions are payable on employees' gross annual earnings. The basic rate for employers' contributions is currently 23.81%, while the current rate for employees is 8.89%,
The governments quest to help and assist the workers by compelling onerous requirements and expense against the employer has had the unintended consequences of sending the country into poverty. Harming those it intended to help. I feel so

David Fletch
David Fletch6 years ago

The employee benefits that employees are required to pay prevent the countries like Italy and Greece from competing on the world market to produce anything. They are mostly relinquished to tourisim. Some examples round in Greece and Italy:
• All employers are also obliged by law to pay your social security called IKA in Greek. Few like to pay it though, since they have to pay a serious amount of money per month per employee. They will also have to give you a Christmas and Easter bonus equivalent to the time you've worked for them. For example, if you work full time for a whole year, your bonus at Christmas and Easter will be a whole months pay on each occasion.
• All employees are entitled to a minimum of four weeks' paid annual holiday.
• There are 12 public holidays.
• There are some professions such as child care that limit the work week hours to 30.
• Female employees must not work for two months before, and three months after, childbirth. This compulsory period of maternity leave can be changed to one month before and four months after childbirth, if a medical certificate is produced.
• During maternity leave, employees receive an allowance from the National Social Security Body equal to 80% of their salary.
• After maternity leave, employees are entitled to return to the same job in which they were employed before taking leave. Employers cannot dismiss female employees during pregnancy and until the child is one year old, e

Luvenia V.
Luvenia V6 years ago

It was when other countries tried to embrace Americanism that they started to fall apart. Frontline did a great story on how American companies lead Europe to bankruptcies. A great many went bankrupt after agreeing to “Interest Swaps.” So you chest bangers for American Corporations and Bankers should open your eyes to the truth.

Patty Boytos
Patty B6 years ago

These tragedies were and are being caused by the banksters who scammed every dime and every drop of blood from these people. AND the governments where weak politicians did nothing to save their own citizens and honored the banks over their people.
This is happening worldwide as the 1% in alliance with the banks extract ALL wealth and resources from the 99% .If this had happened in China these bankster criminal would be shot in the square and their organs put on ice and sold on the world market by noon.The Chinese have done this for lesser crimes.
And people are wondering why the OWS is now worlwide ? These young see a desolate future where before there was hope and optimism.

Morag C.
Morag Cumming6 years ago

"Come back Mrs Thatcher at least she would stand up to them not like the wimps in parliament these days who all appear to be under the German bitches thumb!!!" - meanwhile continuing to destroy what's left of Britain's industry and wrecking the lives of ordinary people...

Oh hang on, there is nothing left of Britain's industry. Thatcher already ravaged it all, so there's little left to do there. Still, the Tories can continue to smash the NHS and the police service and throw many more people out of work, out of their homes and onto the streets, or if they're lucky into a garden shed. What a wonderful world!

Susan Baker
Susan Baker6 years ago

The Eu started out as a "common market" not a German takeover. France got rid of Merkle's poodle hopefully the new President will stand up to Germany maybe then we could all sort our own financial problems without putting millions into the EU coffers, They rob us blind and we get absolutely nothing for it. Come back Mrs Thatcher at least she would stand up to them not like the wimps in parliament these days who all appear to be under the German bitches thumb!!!