Suicide attempts increasing in crisis-stricken Greece

ATHENS Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:30am EST

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ATHENS (Reuters) - The number of people in Greece trying to kill themselves is rising as economic crisis deepens, according to official figures.

There were 677 suicide attempts in 2009, 830 in 2010 and 927 in 2011, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said in a written response to lawmakers' questions.

The number is on course for a further rise this year, with 690 incidents registered by police as of August 23. The figures did not clarify how many suicide attempts led to loss of life.

A 77-year-old retired pharmacist became a symbol of national anguish when he shot himself dead outside parliament in Athens in April. He left a note saying he refused to scrounge for food in the garbage.

Greece in heading towards a sixth year of recession in 2013. The crisis has thrown one in five out of work and gross domestic product has shrunk by a fifth. Many Greeks blame spending cuts and tax hikes demanded by lenders - the European Union and International Monetary Fund - for their plight.

(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; editing by Andrew Roche)

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