Mental health and suicide prevention – what can be done to increase access to mental health services in my local area?

mental health__

(Brunel Johnson, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Ugnė Mickevičiūtė, 22 years old, a fourth year medical student at Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine (Vilnius, Lithuania). 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.


Suicide occurs throughout the world, affecting societies and individuals of all nations, cultures, religions, genders and classes. There were an estimated 793 000 suicide deaths worldwide in 2016. This indicates an annual global age-standardized suicide rate of 10,5 per 100 000 population. In fact, statistics show that the countries with the highest suicide rates in the world are incredibly diverse. For example, in 2016 Lithuania takes rank in the fourth place in suicide rates, we are at the top of the list of 183 countries all around the world according to a report of the World Health Organization.

All of these facts make us wonder what we should do differently to solve this pervasive problem.

It is not a mistake to state that when the society is faced with certain problems, many of us tend to blame the system and various social issues. The lack of psychological help and suicide prevention is also a gap in our health care system, but can we really achieve the results we seek?

Perhaps it is bold to say that primary efforts should be made to change attitudes towards people with one or another psychological problem. After all, this is an undeniable stigma. Individuals with depression and suicidal tendencies are stigmatized. And that is a fact. Although Lithuania counts the third decade as an independent state, post-Soviet identity is still lasting. When the society confronts the suicide, lots of us tend to be surprised and shocked, some of us even dare to judge and propose that only a weak person can raise a hand against himself. This situation is not surprising at all, because such an attitude is deeply rooted in Lithuanian culture. It is obvious, that lack of education leads to uncertainty on what psychological health is, how to achieve it and finally how to recognize a person who is facing psychological challenges, how to help them.

Perhaps realizing that there is no one in the world not facing certain psychological problems and accepting it as a norm, will help for some of us to express our emotions easier? Perhaps if we were able to accept psychological problems and suicidal intentions as an inevitability, we would be able to change people’s attitudes towards themselves, help them overcome their fear of potential stigma, and provide access to help? Acknowledging to yourself that you face psychological problems that you can no longer overcome alone is definitely difficult and it is even harder to admit this painful truth to others. We are afraid to appear weak or demented. For some people, even the thought of getting psychological help causes panic because it would mean accepting that something is wrong and it is sort of a destruction of your ego. This assumption can be made because it reflects gender differences in suicide rates higher with men, as it is stereotypically stated that men must be psychologically stronger.

After all, how can we help if we do not even notice or often ignore the problem? How can we expect that a person will seek for help if the fear of being condemned is sometimes greater than the desire to find a way to lead a happy life? We need to realize the fact that just by talking loudly and fearlessly in public about the importance of psychological health, we can reach more.

About the author

Ms. Ugnė Mickevičiūtė, 22 years old, fourth year medical student at Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine (Vilnius, Lithuania). Active member of Lithuanian Medical Students’ Association (LiMSA).

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

A Sting Exclusive: Healthy oceans amidst COVID-19, written by the United Nations Under-Secretary General

Connectivity and collaboration in the ICT industry: the key to socio-economic development

UN chief expresses ‘full confidence’ in top Somalia official following Government expulsion

Building a stronger Europe: new initiatives to further boost role of youth, education and culture policies

Local innovation, international impact: SMEs and the ITU Telecom World Awards

EU threatens Japan to suspend FTA negotiations if…

Four years on and half a billion dollars later – Tax Inspectors Without Borders

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: hate speech, dementia, Libya and Yemen, human rights in Brazil and Lebanon

How China raised the stakes for electric vehicles

Rohingya refugee shelters ‘washed away’ in Bangladesh monsoon rains: UN agency

Impressions of China

How digital is your country? Europe needs Digital Single Market to boost its digital performance

We can decide to live within the limits of our planet

With rapid, far-reaching changes, world can prevent climate change worst-case scenarios – UN chief

This is the ever-changing state of the world’s top cities

The Sting’s Values

The good news on pensions: sustainable equals profitable

Happy workers are more productive, research shows

UNICEF welcomes Bangladesh statement that Rohingya will not be forced to leave

Lifting the lid on policy decisions across Africa

We must stop a devastating ‘battle to the end’ in southwest Syria, declares UN envoy

How emerging markets will shape Africa in 2020

What companies gain by including persons with disabilities

‘Negative developments’ undermining two-State solution in Middle East

The global issue of migration in 2017

G20 LIVE: Fact Sheet from the G20 Leaders Summit and key outcomes (G20 Antalya 2015 Summary)

Congolese expelled from Angola returning to ‘desperate situation’: UN refugee agency

State aid: Commission refers Greece to Court for failure to recover incompatible State aid from mining company Larco

The issues of practicing medicine in Pakistan

JADE Generations Club: Connecting perspectives, changing Europe.

Spanish and Polish voters are crying out for an imminent European change while US urge now Germany to change route

‘Never give up’: UN chief urges all who serve, marking UN Day

London to say hello or goodbye to Brussels this week

EU and China resolve amicably solar panel trade dispute

What fighting malaria can teach us about linking purpose and business

The 2019 European elections: A pro-European – and young – electorate with clear expectations

Each for Equal is the women’s day theme – these maps of the world show how far we have to go

Autonomous weapons that kill must be banned, insists UN chief

5 lessons for social entrepreneurs on how to change the system

President Michel’s MFF proposal not acceptable for Parliament

Politics is failing to protect the Amazon. It’s time for finance to step up instead

Does the Erasmus program really contribute to the construction of a solid EU identity?

UN expert criticizes States for ‘ganging up’ on Wikileaks’ Assange; warns against extradition, fearing ‘serious’ rights violations

Commission reports on progress in risk reduction in the Banking Union and calls for faster progress on Capital Markets Union ahead of EU Leaders’ meetings

Coronavirus: Commission adopts new exceptional support measures for the wine sector

5G networks: to slice or not to slice?

We need to talk about failure in the social sector

Norway’s electric car market has overtaken traditional vehicle sales

COVID-19: Commission steps up research funding and selects 17 projects in vaccine development, treatment and diagnostics

Circular Plastics Alliance: 100+ signatories commit to use 10 million tons of recycled plastic in new products by 2025

Central Africa: Security Council concerned by ‘grave security situation’, calls for better agency cooperation

The essence of care is cosmopolitan

Mental health during COVID-19 outbreak: who takes care of health professionals?

Food safety: New rules to boost consumer trust approved by MEPs

An ECB banker wants to change the European social model

Coronavirus: a Disease that spreads as fastly as its fake news

The G7 adopted dangerous views about Ukraine and Greece

3 ways AI will change the nature of cyber attacks

A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

‘Revved up climate action’ needed to counter ‘prolonged’ and deadly storms like Cyclone Idai: Guterres

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