Title: We Need To Talk About Suicide
Authors: Ana Júlia Nascimento dos Santos & Gabriel Soares de Souza
NMO/Team: IFMSA Brazil UPE-ST – SCOPH
College: Universidade de Pernambuco
Every 4060 seconds a person in the world commits suicide1. Over the past 45 years, suicide rates have increased by around 60% in worldwide1,2. This data is aggravated in young people between 15 and 29 years old, considered the highest risk group, in which suicide corresponds to the second cause of death. In addition, 75% of all suicides occur in low and middle income countries2.
These data are even more alarming considering that the estimated number of suicides consumed is ten to twenty times less than that of suicide attempts3. Considering that suicidal thinking is a complex phenomenon influenced by personal, social, psychological and biological factors4, there is a need for prevention strategies that target mainly people with suicidal ideation, as it is estimated that 60% of consummated suicides were previously envisioned5.
Furthermore, WHO establishes suicide prevention based on measures such as reducing access to the means used2, such as ropes, pesticides and firearms. However, fundamental measures for this prevention are the strengthening of health care and education and the qualification of professionals in this area for early screening.
In this context, the medical student has an active role in changing society, and strategies can be created to prevent suicide. As an example, there is the action #It’sNotDrama, already consecrated by the Programs of IFMSA6 and carried out for the third edition in the IFMSA Brazil UPE-ST committee, during the Yellow September.
When approaching people with free hugs, motivating phrases and welcoming conversations, the participants in the action are faced with the most varied reactions and reports, but mainly the feeling of gratitude. Although there are recurring campaigns on the topic, the public’s reaction shows that there is still much to be done, because openly discussing suicide is still a reality for a few, and people who have already attempted suicide or who know someone who have already done so demonstrate the need to talk more about the topic. Actions like this prove that we can beare on the right track, and that we keep acting locally, and thinking globally.
- World Health Organization. Preventing suicide: a global imperative: Geneva: World Health Organization, 2014.
- World Health Organization. Suicide – Fact sheet [internet]. 2018 [update 17 jan 2020]. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs398/en/
- Botega NJ, Werlang BSG, Cais CFS, Macedo MMK. Prevenção do comportamento suicida. PSICO 2006;37(3):5.
- Werlang BSG, Borges VR, Fensterseifer L. Fatores de risco ou proteção para a presença de ideação suicida na adolescência. Revista Interamericana de Psicologia, 2006;39(2):259-266.
- Silva VF. Ideação suicida: Um estudo de caso-controle na comunidade. Campinas. Dissertação [Mestrado em Medicina] – Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Universidade Estadual de Campinas; 2006.
- International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations. Program Annual Report. 2018 [update 17 jan 2020]. Available from: https://ifmsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/GS_PAR_201718_Annex-2.pdf