Characteristics of completed suicides after Greek financial crisis onset: A comparative time-series analysis study.

Affiliation

Paraschakis A(1), Karageorgiou V(2), Efstathiou V(2), Douzenis A(2), Boyokas I(3), Michopoulos I(2).
Author information:
(1)Psychiatric Hospital of Attica "Dafni", 374 Athinon Ave, Postal Code 12462, Athens, Greece. [Email]
(2)2nd Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, "Attikon" General Hospital, Athens, Greece.
(3)Piraeus Department of Forensic Medicine, Piraeus, Greece.

Abstract

Severe financial crises could influence a country's suicide trends and characteristics. We aimed to highlight differences among suicide completers before and after the onset of Greece's serious debt crisis of 2010 based exclusively on forensic data. The sample's size permitted a further elaboration by means of a time series analysis too. Data were collected from the Piraeus Department of Forensic Medicine for the period 1992-2016. We extracted information on sociodemographic parameters, psychiatric medication and alcohol intake, suicide method, place and month of suicide. The "after crisis onset" group (2011-2016) was significantly older (p = 0.039)-primarily due to differences in the 55-64 age group-, had more frequently used psychiatric medications (p < 0.001), less often alcohol (p = 0.001) and died more frequently by immolation (p = 0.001). These differences were-almost exclusively-due to changes regarding male suicidal behavior. Time series analysis indicates that no strong increasing trend in total (male + female) suicide count can be observed, despite a local increase in 2009-2010. Antidepressant-positive suicides show an increase after 2010, whereas alcohol-positive suicides show a decrease. Future predicted forecasts for antidepressant-positive suicides indicate a decrease (from 5.6 per year in 2018 to 4.3 per year in 2025) whereas an increase is predicted in alcohol-positive suicides (7.7 per year in 2017, 9.36 per year in 2025). Middle-aged men, compared to middle-aged women, presumably found it harder to adjust to economic hardship after the crisis onset. Finally, comparatively more men than women who died by suicide appear to have started and/or complied with psychiatric treatment after 2010.