Europe's Woeful Trend: 'Suicide by Economic Crisis'

They're rising fast in Greece, Italy, Ireland

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 14, 2012 12:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – When a 77-year-old Greek retiree committed a very public suicide over his mounting debts, he became a face of Europe's financial crisis. But he is far from alone, reports the New York Times. Suicides, especially among men, are spiking in hard-hit nations such as Greece, Ireland, and Italy, with newspapers taking to describing them as "suicide by economic crisis."

In Italy, for instance, the number of suicides attributed to money trouble rose from 123 in 2005 to 187 in 2010, a jump of 52%. In the region of Veneto alone, more than 30 small-business people have killed themselves over the last three years, notes the Times. "Austerity can turn a crisis into an epidemic," says a Cambridge sociologist who published a study in the Lancet pointing out the correlation between the economic downturn and European suicides.

Mourners chant slogans in front of the coffin containing the body of 77-year-old Dimitris Christoulas, who killed himself in Athens.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A mourner places a flower on the coffin containing the body of 77-year-old Dimitris Christoulas, who committed suicide at a central Athens square this month.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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