European leaders should act to halt the humanitarian crisis
Brussels, 10th July 2015 – While Eurozone ministers are discussing what happens next after Greek voters rejected the latest draft bailout deal in Sunday’s referendum, Mental Health Europe calls on the European Institutions, ministers and heads of government of the European Union to act in order to halt the humanitarian crisis in Greece. Greek people are left behind with little prospect of recovery.
Millions of them are deprived of basic health and mental health care, which is only one of the many symptoms of the financial crisis. Mr Nigel Henderson, President of Mental Health Europe, says “We fully understand that Greece faces the prospect of leaving the Eurozone, with high risk of a collapse of its banking system. However, the human perspective of such a crisis should not be overlooked: since 2011, suicides rates have increased by 35% with depression soaring worryingly among the entire population.”
It is now time to find sustainable solutions and to recognise that Greek citizens have suffered enough of austerity measures”. Youth unemployment has reached 60% in the country, the overall economy together with wages have shrunk by 25% and some 45% of Greek pensioners are living below the poverty line. Persons with disabilities and mental health problems no longer have access to basic care and fundamental rights are in danger. Mr Henderson concludes “The European Union has above all a social model to defend and to offer to its citizens. No human being should be left aside in such a time of crisis. This is not about currency anymore, but about standing up for fundamental rights. It is time for European leaders and decisionmakers to take responsibility and not forget that we talk here about human dignity”.