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Why we need to dispel myths about suicide in Kazakhstan?

14 august 2015, 20:01
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Photo courtesy of bartcop.com
Photo courtesy of bartcop.com

Kazakhstan has long topped the list of countries with the highest suicide levels among teens. In the first five-month of 2015, 86 of suicides among underage were registered in the Central Asian country. A UNICEF research found no connection of the suicides with the Unified National Testing that took place in the first half of the year, so teenage suicide remains a pressing and very general problem in Kazakhstan that is not being addressed with due seriousness.

Earlier in Astana, during a meeting at the Central Communication Services, Deputy Director of the State Research and Practice of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Narcology Dr. Nikolay Negai has dispelled established myths about teenage suicide in Kazakhstan.

Dr. Negai explained that erroneous view on teenage suicide prevented many from conducting effective prevention measures.

The first myth states, "people talking about suicide do not seriously attempt to do it".

"People say that it is a demonstrative and blackmailing attitude and a person is looking for some benefit. But it is an absolutely wrong view. The person is saying that he or she has a problem and the only solution the person sees at the moment is suicide. Here the person needs urgent help. It is important to understand what the person is thinking about and what the person wants. That individual needs professional help. But in our society, unfortunately, we tend to just wave them off and pay no attention," Dr. Negay said. 

The second myth, according to Dr. Negay, is that if the person attempts to commit suicide he or she has clearly decided to die anyway. "The person that decides to commit suicide thinks about it only during a certain period of time and always has doubts about it. During this doubtful moment we can save the person’s life. That is why it is important to understand why he or she wants to die," the doctor added.

The third myth states that teens shouldn't be asked about suicide or else it could anger them and trigger a suicide attempt. "It needs to be said that asking is important, but it has to be done correctly and in the right moment. When we ask a teenage about suicide correctly, we ease his or her anxiety, we are letting know that we care and that we are not indifferent to his or her struggles. Teens, when answering this question talk about their issues. Teens should and must be asked about suicide," Dr. Negay said.

The following fourth myth states that some people are just inclined towards suicide. "It is not true. Thoughts about suicide are as a rule last for a fairly short time. These thoughts a temporary so to speak and suicide is committed only in certain situations and when a person is especially troubled," Dr. Negai explained.

Moreover, the doctor believes that suicide is not a problem that requires solely professional help. 

"Suicide is a social problem. Everyone has to make an input including parents, relatives, teachers and just any person who is around,"Negay said.

One of the most recent cases in Kazakhstan took place on August 11. A high school graduate in Western Kazakhstan Aigerim has committed suicide by hanging herself in a barn. According to her mother, Aigerim did not find her name on the list of scholarship recipients. "She just sat on the sofa and kept repeating "my name is not on the list". I told her that it was OK, we would send to ZhenPI (Women's Pedagogical University) in Almaty. I told her I would not leave her, because she was my only daughter. She didn't cry," the devastated mother told Moi Gorod.

Aigerim's case, among many others reminds of the dreariness and complexity of the suicide problem among teenagers. Prevention measures, as mentioned earlier by Dr. Negay, need to be all encompassing and urgent. One may blame the family, the school or name any other possible cause. Yet, one thing is clear, the teenage suicide in Kazakhstan must be addressed from all social and cultural standpoints. 

By Gyuzel Kamalova


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