Tuesday January 21, 2020

Mental Health Disorders Drive Children and Adolescents to Risky, Self-Destructive Behavior

Chiara Servili, a technician in WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told VOA the crisis has no borders

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Mental Health, Disorders, Children
FILE - The board in a classroom is shown with key words during a Youth Aware of Mental Health session at Uplift Hampton Preparatory School in Dallas, Nov. 15, 2018. VOA

Two leading U.N. agencies are warning that growing mental health disorders among children and adolescents are driving them to engage in increasingly risky, self-destructive behavior.

The World Health Organization and the U.N. children’s fund, which on Thursday opened a three-day conference on the issue in Florence, Italy, reported that up to 20% of adolescents globally experience mental health disorders, with half of these conditions starting in youths before they turn 14.

Chiara Servili, a technician in WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told VOA the crisis has no borders. She said children in both low- and high-income countries face depression, anxiety and emotional distress.

Youths in developing countries “may be exposed to a range of risk factors like poverty or chronic conditions, including HIV, or migration and displacement and violence,” Servili said. “These are all risk factors that have an influence on the psychosocial well-being of young people.”

Mental Health, Disorders, Children
The World Health Organization and the U.N. children’s fund, which on Thursday opened a three-day conference on the issue in Florence, Italy, reported that up to 20%. Pixabay

She said adolescents living in richer countries also have to contend with violence. They can also face stresses related to unstable families, bullying at school and through social media, and a wide range of other difficult experiences.

WHO said depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents worldwide. It said suicide is the third-leading cause of death in adolescents aged 15 to 19.

Servili said the stigma and shame attached to mental illness are major barriers to getting young people the help they need.

Because of the lack of awareness about mental health issues, parents, other family members, teachers and adolescents “do not recognize their experiences as related to mental health conditions,” Servili said. “The other big challenge is in relation to the availability of care providers and trained human resources.”

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Servili warned that untreated mental conditions have serious short- and long-term health consequences for adolescents.  The inability to deal with their problems, she said, often pushes young people into alcohol and drug use, unsafe sex, violence and other risky behaviors.  (VOA)

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Suicide Rates Increasing Among Self-Employed Than Unemployed

More self-employed committing suicides than unemployed

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Self-Employed suicide
More self-employed people are committing suicide every day than the unemployed. Lifetime Stock

It may appear strange but more self-employed people are committing suicide every day than the unemployed. People with their own startups are likely to be depressed.

It may be a testimony to the bleak economic situation and the slump in various industries that an average of 36 self-employed people ended their lives every day as against a lesser number of 35 unemployed people.

While the government has been offering several categories of loans for the self-employed, the downturn in commercial activity in general, indebtedness and the stress of running a business may be taking a toll on the self-employed. Self-employed category accounted for 9.8 per cent of total suicide victims (13,149 out of 1,34,516).

Suicides by the self-employed and the unemployed in 2018, with the two categories together accounted for 26,085 deaths during the year, according to government data. The self employed figure of suicides at 13,149 is more than the suicides by the unemployed at 12,936.

Both the categories combined outnumbered the suicide figures of those working in the farming sector at 10,349 in 2018, according to data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Self-Employed
The self employed figure of suicides at 13,149 is more than the suicides by the unemployed at 12,936. Lifetime Stock

“Each suicide is a personal tragedy that prematurely takes the life of an individual and has a continuing ripple effect, dramatically affecting the lives of families, friends and communities. Every year, more than 1 lakh people commit suicide in our country. There are various causes of suicides like professional/career problems, sense of isolation, abuse, violence, family problems, mental disorders, addiction to alcohol, financial loss, chronic pain etc,” says the NCRB adding it collects data on suicides from police recorded suicide cases.

A total of 1.34 lakh suicides were reported in the country during 2018, showing an increase of 3.6 per cent in comparison to 2017. The rate of suicides, which means deaths per one lakh population, also increased by 0.3 per cent during 2018 over 2017, the NCRB stated.

In a shocking revelation, one unemployed person committed suicide every hour during 2018. Of the total suicides, 92,114 male and 42,391 female, were reported in the country, NCRB’s data on “Suicide in India-2018” says.

The latest data, issued by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under Ministry of Home Affairs, reveals that a total of 12,936 unemployed persons committed suicide in 2018, which accounted for the 9.6 per cent of the total suicides, were of aged below 18 years to above 60 years.

Those below 18 years include 31 males and nine females while those between 18 and 30 years comprise 1,240 male and 180 female. A total of 868 male and 95 female were aged between 30 and 45 years. A number of 237 males and 21 females were aged between 45 and 60 years while 2,431 males and 310 females were above 60 years. Of the total suicides by unemployed persons, males are 10,687 while the females are 2,249.4

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Majority of 12.3 per cent suicides committed by unemployed persons were in Kerala (1,585 out of 12,936 suicides), 12.2 per cent in Tamil Nadu (1,579 suicides), 9.7 per cent in Maharashtra (1,260 suicides), 8.5 per cent in Karnataka (1,094 suicides) and 7 per cent in Uttar Pradesh (902 suicides). (IANS)