[Financial crisis and mental health in Greece]

Psychiatriki. Apr-Jun 2011;22(2):109-19.
[Article in Modern Greek (1453-)]

Abstract

Several studies indicate an association between economic crises and psychological burden. To investigate the possible impact of the current economic crisis on mental health in Greece, the association between two economic indicators (unemployment and average income) and mental health variables (psychiatric clinic admittance, visits to outpatients' departments and emergency units, suicides, homicides, mortality rates and divorces) was studied. The data were gathered by the Greek Statistical Service and some others were provided by the following hospitals: Eginition Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital of Attica, Athens General Hospital and Evaggelismos Hospital. Simple and multiple regression analyses were performed on the data. There was no significant correlation between the level of unemployment, as well as the average income, and admittance to the psychiatric clinics. A significant correlation was isolated between unemployment and visits to outpatients' department (R2 = 0.40, p = 0.001) and emergency unit (R2 = 0.49, p = 0.0002) of Eginition Hospital. The unemployment rate during the period 1981-2008 was positively associated with the number of homicides (R2 = 0.16, beta = 0.000049, p = 0.03), as well as the number of divorces (R2 = 0.20, beta = 0.005, p = 0.02) during the same period. The average income showed positive association with the visits to both outpatients' department (R2 = 0.55, p < 0.001) and emergency unit (R2 = 0,37, p = 0.004) of Eginition Hospital. However, the data from the 4 hospitals of the study revealed a negative correlation between average income and visits to outpatients' departments (R2 = 0.70, p = 0.02) and emergency units (R2 = 0.90, p < 0.001). Furthermore, a significant negative correlation between the average income and suicide rates (R2 = 0.37, p = 0.007), as well as a positive correlation between the average income and divorce rates (R2 = 0.73, p < 0.001) were found. The findings show several similarities with previous surveys in countries with analogous economic crises, such as the Former Eastern Bloc countries, Asian countries and the USA. Future studies, at a more late stage of the economic crisis, are expected to reveal more reliable associations with mental health. Finally, these findings are expected to inform intervention programmes dealing with prevention or mitigation of the impact of economic crisis on citizens' mental health.

MeSH terms

  • Community Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Divorce / statistics & numerical data
  • Economic Recession / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Services, Psychiatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Greece
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data