40% increase in suicide rates in Greece could be mirrored in UK because of redundancies, repossessions, marital breakdown


Unite has warned health officials that government austerity cuts could trigger an increase in suicide rates in England.

Responding to a Department of Health consultation on suicide prevention, Unite points to a 40% increase in suicides in Greece since the economic crisis erupted earlier this year, compared to the same period in 2010.

As part of the four-month consultation, “Preventing Suicide in England”, Unite professional officer Dave Munday said: “we believe that the economic crisis engulfing the country will increase the pressures on individuals faced with tightening finances, repossessed homes, marital breakdown and lost jobs.”

The government says more advice and support information should be available in GPs surgeries, hospitals and health centres, as well as on television and new media such as Facebook, for someone who is thinking of ending their life or for friends and loved ones of anyone who has committed suicide.

In its submission, Unite has recommended tighter firearms regulations and cutting paperwork which the union says burdens mental health practitioners and prevents them from devoting sufficient time to  clients.

The government’s response to the consultation is due in early 2012.

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