A study says more people are killing themselves in European countries affected by economic troubles. David Stuckler, a sociologist at Britain's University of Cambridge, co-wrote the report. He says, "For the most part, the countries that have been more severely affected have experienced greater rises in suicides -- Ireland, Spain, the Baltics -- reaching up to sixteen percent in some of the worst affected countries, like Greece." Suicide rates in Europe had been decreasing. But then the international banking crisis hit in two thousand eight.The study looked at reports from ten European countries from two thousand seven and two thousand nine. Nine of the ten countries had a five percent increase in suicide rates between two thousand seven and two thousand nine. In Ireland the increase was thirteen percent. David Stuckler says the study found that suicide rates have not increased in countries where governments have helped get people back to work. Examples include Sweden and Finland. "We found that just giving money to people who have lost jobs to replace their income did not appear to help. Instead, giving people a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a hope in terms of searching for a good, meaningful job seemed to be the most beneficial to helping people cope."The findings appeared in the Lancet medical journal. Greece is suffering the costs of a huge public deficit. For over a year, the government has cut spending and increased taxes in an effort to improve its finances.Pavlos Tsimas is a journalist based in Greece. He recently made a documentary about the increase in suicides. He says some people have killed themselves in a very dramatic way, "which maybe means that they are trying to make their suicide a statement, want the whole world to understand how badly they feel, how hopeless they have felt." Pavlos Tsimas says Greeks who kill themselves are mostly men. And he says the number has gone up most on the island of Crete, "where social and family life is more traditional, more patriarchic. The father of the family has to be respected as a figure of great strength. And when the economic problems arise, when jobs are lost and businesses are closed down, it is this despair because of the loss of respect, the loss of self-esteem, and the fact that the person feels that his life no longer has meaning, that drives them to this kind of act."
For VOA Special English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.