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).

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

The next EU President will first have to drink his tea at Downing Street

Black Panther’s ‘General Okoye’ joins the fight against gender-based violence

ECB’s Draghi favours a cheaper euro to serve all Eurozone countries

Do not confuse food charity with ‘right to food’, UN expert tells Italians, labelling food system exploitative

Artificial intelligence summit focuses on fighting hunger, climate crisis and transition to ‘smart sustainable cities’

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Consumers suffer three defeats

‘Crimes against humanity,’ ‘war crimes’ and risk of new ethnic violence in DR Congo, warn UN experts

The vehicles of our future

South Sudan’s foreseen genocide: from “Never Again” to “Again and Again and Again”?

Women to save Europe’s own labour resources

The new assembly lines: Why AI needs low-skilled workers too

How will the NATO-EU competition evolve in the post Brexit era?

Monday’s Daily Brief: human rights in the Near East and a Forum for Refugees

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century: an equity unachieved

Vaccine hesitancy: a pregnancy related issue?

Erdogan’s electoral win on a ‘me or chaos’ dilemma means trouble for everybody

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

US-North Korea summit in Singapore ‘a promising development’ says Guterres

UN chief appoints Luis Alfonso de Alba as Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit

Use space technology to build a better world for all, urges UN chief

These 3 countries are global offshore wind powerhouses

A Sting Exclusive: “The competitiveness of Europe depends on a digital single market”, EPP President Joseph Daul highlights live from European Business Summit 2015

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

UN chief welcomes new push by El Salvador’s political parties to begin fresh dialogue

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

Would you let an AI vote for you?

The EU adopted €297 million in concrete actions for refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon

The German automotive industry under the Trump spell

Relieving the suffering of dying: Home Palliative Care as a spiritual coping strategy

What can Darwin teach the aviation industry about cybersecurity?

Burned in the Amazonian forest: Your health may be in danger

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

‘No shortcuts to a healthier world’: WHO chief sets out health priorities for the decade

Stop violence against women: Statement by the European Commission and the High Representative

Nordic noir: The unhappiness epidemic affecting young people in the world’s happiest countries

Is the energy industry meeting its sustainability goals?

The European Sting Cookie Policy

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

Why a cash-free future might not be as close as you think

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

The hidden downsides of autonomous vehicles – and how to avoid them

Gaza blockade causes ‘near ten-fold increase’ in food dependency, says UN agency

Joint UN-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

FROM THE FIELD: Persons with disabilities bike towards sustainability

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

EU-China trade: closer ties as US-China trade battle brews

Amazon, a pair of shoes and my Data Privacy walks away

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

A poor kid died just now. Do you know why?

Hunger in Yemen: WFP considers aid suspension in face of repeated interference by some Houthi leaders

Discovering Europe: Free EU rail pass for 18 year olds

10 predictions for the global economy in 2019

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Libya civil war, African displacement, global trade tensions, terrorists’ children ‘secretly detained’, and more

Green deal for Europe: First reactions from MEPs

Three ways China can make the New Silk Road sustainable

In the age of the tourism backlash, we need ‘destination stewards’

MEPs vote for upgrade to rail passenger rights

More Stings?

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