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Arch Hellen Med, 35(Supplement 1), 2018, 27-35


Suicidality and economic recession: findings from international and Greek research

M. Economou,1,2 T. Papaslanis,1 M. Charitsi,2 E. Dieti,2 Κ. Souliotis3
1First Department of Psychiatry, Athens University Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece,
2University Mental Health Research Institute (UMHRI), Athens, Greece,
3Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, University of Peloponnese, Korinth, Greece

In the last decades, a growing number of studies worldwide have substantiated the link between adverse socio-economic conditions and suicide. This effect is becoming even more prominent nowadays, as the global recession has increased the risk in vulnerable population groups. The current review presents evidence from the international literature on the relationship between suicidality and economic downturns, highlighting the socioeconomic factors that are shown to contribute highly to the manifestation of suicidal behavior. In this context, special emphasis is given on the role of unemployment, as well as on the nature of working conditions shaped by the global recession, that have been shown to bear a strong association with mental health problems and suicide. In Greece, the course of suicidality during the current economic downturn is explored by recent studies that document a substantial rise in the pertinent rates. Concomitantly, this increment has been found to be related to various socio-economic indices, with a series of Greek studies indicating that the substantial effect of the crisis on suicidality is independent of mental illness. Overall, the growing body of research on the psychosocial determinants of mental health raises questions with regard to the observed shift from the psychopathological substrate of suicidality to its socio-economic underpinnings.

Key words: Economic crisis, Greece, Suicidality, Unemployment, Working conditions.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine