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 Commission and International Monetary Fund strengthen cooperation to support sustainable development

From the boardroom to the consulting room: pharma’s role in curing gender bias

Why forensic science is in crisis and how we can fix it

When should you self-isolate, self-quarantine or social-distance?

Ending the era of dirty textiles

Why precision medicine is the future of healthcare

China has announced ambitious plans to cut single-use plastic

Rapid action needed for people to meet challenges of changing world of work

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

How India’s government can build better contracts with blockchain

Fight against climate change and poverty will fail without overhaul of global financial system, says major UN report

Polio eradication a UN priority, says Guterres in Pakistan visit

EU, Brazil to hold high level Summit in Brasilia

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

Khashoggi trial in Saudi Arabia falls short of independent, international probe needed: UN rights chief

Cum-ex tax fraud scandal: MEPs call for inquiry, justice, and stronger tax authorities

Commission study finds positive impact of trade agreements on agri-food sectors

Human rights: breaches in Russia, the Rakhine State and Bahrain

Who threatens the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians?

European Development Days 2013

Here’s why human-robot collaboration is the future of manufacturing

Suicide in postpartum depression

Security Council downsizes AU-UN mission in Darfur, eying eventual exit

Are medical students with equal access to the medical profession?

This is the world’s biggest mental health problem – and you might not have heard of it

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

ITU Telecom World 2018 takes place in Durban, South Africa

Fairer food supply chain: Agriculture MEPs clamp down on unfair trading

EU prepares itself to fight back against hostile propaganda

Final turnout data for 2019 European elections announced

Amazon indigenous groups want to create a nature sanctuary the size of Mexico

Why the Greeks forgave Tsipras’ pirouettes around austerity and voted again for SYRIZA

Even in the world’s richest countries, kids might not have what they need to learn at home

MEPs debate Brexit and relations with China following EU spring summit

Back to school: Schoolchildren to receive milk, fruits and vegetables at school thanks to EU programme

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

Commission statement on the European Remembrance Day for Victims of Terrorism

When did globalization begin? The answer might surprise you

These are the countries best prepared for the fight against cancer

Scoring for the environment: what Mathieu Flamini’s top-flight football career taught him about leadership

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

Hospitals among seven health centres attacked in Syria’s north-east

In a state of war: COVID-19 and psychiatric support

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

The world is too complacent about epidemics. Here’s how to change

3 things to know about the fight against Alzheimer’s

The Czech economy is thriving but boosting skills and productivity and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model is vital to sustainable and inclusive growth

China Unlimited Special Report: at the heart of Beijing

A few, or rather two, trade and economic alliances may rule our brave new world

New rules make household appliances more sustainable

Here are four steps SMEs can take for long-term success

‘Abhorrent’ ambulance attack in Libyan capital imperils life-saving work, warns UN

At Davos, UN chief urges ‘big emitters’ to take climate action

We can’t wait to act on emissions. Here’s how to get to net zero

LGBTQI+ and medicine: are we prepared to deliver dignified and non-discriminatory health care?

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

Latvian economy is thriving, but boosting productivity, improving social protection and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model are vital for sustainable and inclusive growth

Youth Parliament to finalise millennials´ priorities for future of the EU

Yemen ceasefire deal: ‘Potential’ now to restore humanitarian lifeline to millions

Ukraine: turning challenges into opportunities

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