1 September 2021

 

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Prevention of depression and suicidal behavior

 

      Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. Globally, depression affects about 5% of the population. The age of onset of the disease is 30-40 years. Women get sick 2 times more often than men.

      What are the manifestations of depression? The main manifestation of depression is a persistent depressed mood. A person usually says that he experiences melancholy, frustration, joylessness, apathy, oppression. Moreover, a low mood arises as a response to external circumstances (quarrels, conflicts, illness of family members, large monetary losses), as well as without an external reason. The peculiarity of depression is that the unpleasant events have long passed or ended well, but the depressed mood remains. This feeling is completely irrational and does not depend on the social and material state of a person. At one time, Jack London, Savva Morozov, A.S. Pushkin, L.N. Tolstoy, Winston Churchill suffered from depression.

      The second major manifestation of depression is the loss of previous interests and the ability to enjoy things that were previously enjoyable. A person feels "like a squeezed lemon." Work, money, food, sex, travel, even the closest people become indifferent.

      The third major manifestation of depression is fatigue and motor retardation. It is difficult for a person to carry out their daily duties (going to the store, cooking, cleaning the apartment). Patients often say that they "do everything by forcing themselves." The professional activity of a person deteriorates, the state of health decreases, self-confidence is lost. A person suddenly feels stupid (it is difficult for him to make decisions, to concentrate on work, he feels worthless). The characteristic appearance of a depressed person is a pale face, a dull look, drooping shoulders, indifference to one's appearance, the absence of cosmetics and jewelry in women and gloomy tones prevail in clothes. The voice of such people is quiet, monotonous. Thoughts are of predominantly negative content ("everything is bad", "nothing can be changed for the better", "there is no way out", "I feel a dead end"). With depression, libido disappears, appetite decreases or is completely absent, body weight decreases, sleep is disturbed (a person falls asleep easily, and then wakes up at 3-4 a.m. and can't fall asleep). Discomfort from the internal organs is possible (headaches, pressure in the heart, "a heavy heart", pain in the body, "the whole body hurts, as if from beating"). Depressed patients feel worse in the morning and better in the afternoon. With depression, 60-70% of patients think about suicide, and 10-15% commit it.

 

Belarus and suicides

Another interesting (and sad) map of the world. This is the suicide data for 2020. Belarus ranks fifth in the world with 2447 cases of voluntary deaths per year, or 26.2 cases per 100 thousand people (46.9 men per 100 thousand and 8.2 women per 100 thousand). The largest number of suicides occurs in rural areas. Villagers have suicides almost 3 times more often than city dwellers. In the sad ranking, traditionally Lithuania is in first place (31.9 cases per 100 thousand), then Russia, Guyana in South America, South Korea, then we, Suriname and Kazakhstan.

Despite the fact that in the world over the past decades, the statistics of suicides have been slowly, but steadily decreasing, the problem remains relevant in many countries.

The number of men trying to take their own lives is almost three times higher than the number of women who are sick of life

 

Suicide is defined as death caused by self-harming behavior with intent to die as a result of such behavior.

All people who decided to die of their own free will have different grounds and reasons:

  • severe cancer, 
  • an unbearable economic burden,
  • psychological problems,
  • difficulties with social adaptation in society and the inability to find one’s place in life,
  • loneliness.

 

A low level of suicide is typical for the countries professing Islam (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, etc.), the countries of Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Greece).

 

The average suicide rate is typical for the Western capitalist countries (the USA, the Benelux countries, France), highly developed Asian countries (Hong Kong, Japan, Korea).

A high level is observed in the countries of Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic countries, the Scandinavian countries (except Norway), as well as the Central European countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria).

 

TOP-10 countries in terms of the number of suicides per 100,000 population in 2020:

1. Lithuania – 31.9 people 

The baltic republic retains the first place in the number of suicides in the world.

2. Russian Federation – 31.0

3. Guyana – 29.2

4. Korea – 26.9 

This example of developed Korea shows that this list may include high-tech countries with a developed economy and a high standard of living.

5. Belarus – 26.2

6. Suriname – 22.8

7. Kazakhstan – 22.5

8. Ukraine – 22.4

9. Lesotho – 21.2

10. Latvia – 21.2

As can be seen from the rating, it is dominated by former Soviet Republics, former Dutch colonies in South America. Africa's leader in terms of HIV incidence and, as an exception, is the quite successful Republic of Korea (the statistics of suicides are not bypassed by quite successful developed countries).

The greatest number of suicides occurs in rural areas. Villagers have suicides almost 3 times more often than city dwellers.   

Suicide is the intentional deprivation of life. What is the cause of suicide and why do people commit suicide? Usually the prerequisite for any suicide is some unresolved problem that a person cannot solve in another way. But more often it is a series of reasons that converge at one point. Such reasons can be mental disorders (depression, alcoholism, schizophrenia, drug addiction), social (death of loved ones, loss of work, great financial loss, isolation), somatic (cancer, progressive neurological diseases, old age).

What to do to prevent suicide? The idea of ​​suicide, as a rule, is formed for a long time, so there is time and an opportunity to prevent it. First of all, it is necessary to call this person to be frank. Do not feel embarrassed or confused. Give the person a chance to talk. Discuss with him his problems and ways out of the crisis, offer him help. Don't leave him alone, stay with him. Ask other family members to be with him. Do not demand “never do it”. Remove potentially dangerous items from the house (large quantities of medicines, household poisons, technical fluids, cold weapons and firearms). Refuse for this period from long trips, business trips. It will always be better if you and this person see a therapist or psychiatrist. A person who decides to commit suicide needs the help of a specialist. Where is it better to go?

  

 

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What should not be done to loved ones?

- Avoid discussing this topic with a person who has decided to commit suicide;

- Joke, to tell jokes from the field of "black" humor;

- Treat suicide as something “frivolous”, “stupid”, “a manifestation of a weak character”;

- Talk with such a person in a commanding tone -- "do not dare to speak like that!", "do not dare to do this!";

- Give moral assessments of what is happening -- "aren't you ashamed to say such things?", "pull yourself together!", "have you thought about the family?";

- Consider that a person is "playing the fool", "trying to manipulate others";

- Try to shock a person who made a suicidal attempt -- "why didn't you finish it?", "maybe I can help you do it?" etc. Depression is a medical condition that must be treated. Treatment can be outpatient and inpatient. Antidepressants are used to treat depression. The doctor will prescribe the necessary drug, select the dose.

What to do to prevent depression in the future? Bring more fun to life. People who make high demands on themselves often suffer from depression, “keep themselves in tight hands.” Always try to find time and money for pleasant entertainment – traveling, buying a new thing, an interesting acquaintance, watching an interesting movie, good food. Love yourself and maintain a high level of self-esteem. Don't be lonely – try to build good interpersonal relationships, communication protects a person from depression. Stay fit. Eat correctly and regularly, keep a constant weight, watch your body, avoid alcohol abuse. Monitor your mental health. Depression doesn't start overnight. If you feel her approaching, see your doctor.

Call and get help 

 

"Helplines":

 

Minsk:

for adults 8-017-290-44-44 (multichannel, round the clock);

for children and adolescents 8-017-263-03-03 (round the clock).

Psychoneurological dispensary, center for borderline states and psychotherapy.

Minsk, st. Miendzialiejeva, 4

Working hours: Mon-Fri 8.00-20.00, Sat, Sun - day off

(017) 352-58-98 – registration office

 "Psychological development center for children and adults"

Minsk, st. Platonava, 20b, cab. 607 Today until 19:00

 

Republican public association of psychological assistance "Awakening"

Minsk, st. Paliavaja, 26, of. 2a. Today from 18:00

round-the-clock emergency phone numbers for psychological assistance (free)

(8-017) 290-44-44 – for adults

(8-801) 100-16-11, (8-017) 246-03-03 – for children and adolescents,

the phone of the city center of borderline states

(8-017) 245-61-74 (open from 8.00 to 20.00)

 

CONVERSATION IS CONDUCTED ANONYMOUSLY, CONFIDENCE IS GUARANTEED.

 

Doctor-neurologist 

of the 4th CCH named after M.Ja. Saŭčanka                                  A.V. Michalievič       

 

 

 

Material prepared on the basis of WHO information and open sources