'Greeks suicide rate at record high'
A homeless man sleeps besides an empty shop on May 29, 2011 in Athens, Greece.
Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection says that Suicides and attempted suicides in the country have seen a sharp rise of 22.5 percent since 2009, Press TV reported.
The report, which was presented to the parliament on Wednesday by Minister Christos Papoutsis, showed a total of 1,727 recorded suicide death and attempted suicide incidents nationwide since the Greek recession began in 2009.
According to the report, the number of suicides and attempted suicides nationwide jumped from 507 in 2009 to 622 in 2010, marking a 22.5 percent increase, and to 598 in the last year up to until December 10th.
The ministry report also urges the relevant welfare authorities to look into the issue as a matter of emergency, underlining the phenomenon as a major social hurdle, a Press TV correspondent in Athens reported.
The suicide phenomenon in Greece was first mentioned in parliament last summer, when New Democracy MP Prokopis Pavlopoulos asked both the ministry and local authorities to provide the relevant information.
Prior to the Greek economic downturn which began in 2008, suicide ratesin Greece were among the lowest in the European Union, at only 2.8 per 100.00 denizens.
This comes while Greeks are forced to endure a fifth consecutive year of recession with the debt crisis deepening, cuts taking their toll and unemployment surging.
Meanwhile, officials insist that the belt-tightening and structural reforms under way will eventually change the EU's most uncompetitive economy for the better.