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

European welfare states are failing young people

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Launch of CREWS, climate risk & early warning systems

‘At risk’ Mediterranean forests make ‘vital contributions’ to development

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

Merkel’s triumph will make Berlin more unbending

The hidden risk of virtual reality – and what to do about it

Zero carbon by 2050 is possible. Here is what we need to do

Here’s how China is going green

Somalis ‘will not be deterred’ by Friday’s terror attacks – UN chief

Brain drain 2017: why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Alexandre in Czech Republic

In aftermath of Libya airstrike deaths, UN officials call for refugees and migrants to be freed from detention

Climate finance for developing countries reached USD 71 billion in 2017

Look Mom, even the House of Lords says the #righttobeforgotten is not right

French Prime Minister passes Stability Program and takes his ‘café’ in Brussels this June

A day in the life of a refugee: being and staying healthy

EU-Ukraine Summit: moving forward together in solidarity

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

Syrian Refugees in Germany face distinctly different challenges than those in Lebanon

Will Cameron succeed in keeping UK inside the EU and reverse the present economic downturn?

800,000 people commit suicide every year: WHO

We are on the edge of a new ‘cyber’ space age. This is how we make it a success

Antisemitism, intolerance, can be unlearned, Guterres tells New York commemoration

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

Effective multilateralism the antidote to today’s ‘divisions’, Holy See tells UN Assembly

North Korean families facing deep ‘hunger crisis’ after worst harvest in 10 years, UN food assessment shows

An open letter from business to world leaders: “Be ambitious, and together we can address climate change”

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

How trade tariffs could help combat climate change

E-energy declaration: will energy digitalization be beneficial to the climate?

UN condemns ‘unspeakable’ attack that leaves scores dead in central Mali

Access to health in the developped and developing world

This young scientist is tackling food insecurity for the world’s most vulnerable groups

An EU first: youth Ministers debate youth participation in live broadcast

SMEs are the most valuable partners. Here’s why

EU budget deal struck with Parliament negotiators

2,300 migrant children in Central American ‘caravan’ need protection, UNICEF says

European Union: From financial consolidation to deeper political division


With millions of girls ‘at risk’ today of genital mutilation, UN chief calls for zero tolerance

WHO and IFMSA as transcendent pillars for world improvement

How India is solving its cooling challenge

More funds needed to counter ‘persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems’ in Ethiopia

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

Swedish PM Löfven: “Our common values must guide us to an even better future”

3 ways to fight stress at work

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

UN health experts warn ‘dramatic resurgence’ of measles continues to threaten the European region

The Brits are not an exception and that’s why they voted to leave

What is the UN General Assembly and what does it do?

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

Ocean life faces ‘onslaught of threats’ from human activity, but tools exist to save it

When nations work together, hope prevails and collective solutions can be found – UN chief tells Peace Forum, marking World War centenary in Paris

Gender Equality as a platform to improve Medicine

Eliminating hepatitis calls for ‘bold political leadership, with investments to match,’ UN health chief says

If we don’t protect the ocean, humanitarian disaster awaits

Seven trends shaping the future of the mining and metals industry

Commission reviews relations with China, proposes 10 actions

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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