Mental health and suicide prevention

suicide

(Dan Meyers, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Vasiliki Nektaria Vlachogianni, a 3rd-year medical student, in University of Thessaly,
Greece . She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Therefore, mental health and physical health are closely linked and should not be thought of as separate.

Problematic physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health disorders. Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health, for example neglecting to take medication for chronic diseases, having poor personal sense of health etc.   Consequently the importance of mental health and its interdependence with physical health makes it an important issue of public health that concerns all of us.

Αccording to a World Health Organization study, every 40 seconds a person ends his life. In total, nearly 800,000 people commit suicide each year. Additionally, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in Eastern Europe. Suicide rates in Greece remain relatively low in relation to Europe, with five suicides per 100,000 people compared to a region wide average of 15.4 per 100,000 people, according to World Health Organization data from 2016, which is the most recent research available. However the suicide rate in Greece, seems to be increasing, since it spiked from 3.3 to 5 people per 100,000 from 2010 to 2016.

In Greece, according to the Doctors of the World, there are 19 psychiatric beds per 100,000 inhabitants, while the average rate in the rest of  European countries is 73 / 100,000. There is not an integrated system of mental health services and there seems to be a lack of cross-sectoral coordination and provision of specialized services. Psychiatric clinics are burdened with a large number of patients leading to inadequate results in treating them, while at the same time there are gaps in funding and staff shortages, as well as deficiencies in the intercultural approach.

However, “Psychargos  program” 2000 – 2010, a governmental program that concerns mental health, has largely succeeded in closing long-term psychiatric hospitals, de-institutionalizing the majority of patients and establishing psychiatric services as a part of general hospitals.The “Psychargos III program” that was scheduled to cover the period 2011-2020 though is still largely incomplete.  Specific mental health services concerning both primary and specialised care for children, adolescents, people with autism and intellectually disabled people are still inadequate in Greece and need further improvement.

But, why do people decide to put an end to their lives? A person’s wish to die is his last resort in order to put an end to his anxiety and mental pain, since he/she believes that this is the only solution that will give him some control over his life. Suicide is not a choice. It is a desperate reaction an not only is it not a choice, but it can also be the result of serious depression, one of the most common mental disorders worldwide.

It is found that 90% of self-destructive behaviors worldwide could have been prevented. This prevention can be achieved by allocating more funds in improving mental health services,  organizing  relevant to well-being interventions and actions, as well as reforming health, education and work mechanisms.

Considering all the above, it is our duty as human beings and as active citizens to keep safe and alive the people who, under the burden of mental pain, decide to commit suicide. We cannot continue to be passive recipients of suicide news.Talking to someone is often the first step to take when you know they are going through a hard time.

About the author

Vasiliki Nektaria Vlachogianni is a 3rd-year medical student, in University of Thessaly,
Greece. She is an active member in Hellenic Medical Students' International Committee (HelMSIC) and this year is her third term as a Local Officer on Human Rights and Peace. Moreover, she is a Peer Education trainer specialized on human rights issues and is passionate about human rights, wanting to defend them in every possible way.

 

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

EU Commission indifferent on Court of Auditors’ recommendations

Aid funding for Occupied Palestinian Territories at ‘all-time low’

Commission’s Youth Initiative fails first hurdle by not sufficiently consulting young people

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

The EU heads of State and Government about the result of the European Elections 2019

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Our food system is pushing nature to the brink. Here’s what we need to do

European Commission and World Bank Group renew agreement to strengthen development cooperation

Europe’s forests are booming. Here’s why.

Let’s Learn

3 ways to accelerate the energy transition

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: Banking moguls continue brandishing financial Armageddon to intimidate us all but in Davos they worry about the very distant future

EU migration deal welcomed by UN agencies

To my Chinese friend

We generate 125,000 jumbo jets worth of e-waste every year. Here’s how we can tackle the problem

Trump’s blasting win causes uncertainty and turbulence to the global financial markets

The punishment gap: how workplace mistakes hurt women and minorities most

Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries

How smartphones can close the global skills gap for billions

How banks should prepare for robots going rogue

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

Restore land to save the planet, boost the economy, says head of UN body combating desertification

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

Estonia is making public transport free

JADE Testimonial #3: Sebastian @ Fundraising

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

Solitary Britain sides with US aggressing Russia and chooses hard Brexit

UN-led Yemen ceasefire monitoring team gets ready to begin operations

Europe on the Move: Commission completes its agenda for safe, clean and connected mobility

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, in Brussels - Berlaymont, last week. (Copyright European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus)

Amazon, Luxembourg and Ireland hit by EU’s latest turn of the screw over competition

Brexit: European Commission publishes Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

4 views on the shape of global cooperation in the time of COVID-19

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

China Unlimited Special Report: The trip to China

The EU to fight cross-border tax evasion with a toothless directive

EU report: Implementation of reforms continues to bring EU and Ukraine closer together

Global Report on Food Crises reveals scope of food crises as COVID-19 poses new risks to vulnerable countries

Scotland “shows the way” to separatist movements as Catalonia calls a vote on independence

To be fair or to be sustainable? That is the (retirement) question

Trust and support of Iraqis essential for success of UN’s Da’esh terror investigation

EU migration crisis again accentuates lack of unity and solidarity among member states

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

UN launches new fund to advance sustainable development in Aral Sea region

Here are three key ways that data analytics can improve the workplace

The European Brain Drain: hard facts and harder truths

Seven trends shaping the future of the mining and metals industry

EU Parliament shows its teeth in view of 2014 elections

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

UN mourns death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ‘a guiding force for good’

From memes to mourning, how Europe is dealing with its darkest hour since World War II

Senior UN official strongly condemns Southern California synagogue attack

EU’s core members are eyeing larger parts of arms trade and of world map

Towards a seamless internal EU market for industrial goods

The Greta effect? Why businesses are more committed to climate action in 2020

Somalia: UN mission head condemns deadly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Galkayo

End ‘shame, isolation and segregation’ of fistula sufferers, urges UN reproductive health chief

A health of all and for all based on the Ecuadorian reality

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s