We would like to share the article written by Dr Jorge Jaber for the Correio da Manhã on September 8th, 2021 on youth suicide. The original article was written in Spanish. Read the original article here. Below is a translated version.

The latest World Health Organization report on suicide paints a hard picture. There are about 800,000 deaths per year – one every 40 seconds –, in addition to at least three times as many attempts, which, even if unsuccessful, require hospital care. It is more lethal than AIDS, malaria, breast cancer and even homicides. The issue is global, reaching, albeit in different ways, all countries, ages, genders and social classes.

Contrary to the global trend, the numbers have been growing in the Americas, and Brazil is no exception to the rule, with a detail that deserves attention: among our approximately 12 thousand annual cases, a good part occurs among people aged 15 to 24 years. Among them, the index rose 54% between 2009 and 2019, becoming the second cause of death,  staying only behind traffic accidents. Losses, therefore, are avoidable – the WHO itself states that 90% of episodes could be prevented – which makes them even more heartbreaking.

In a predominantly young country like ours, this tragedy has another worrying aspect. It is not just about lives that go away, leaving, in addition to deep sadness, anguish and feelings of guilt in those who remain. They are students or professionals in training, future doctors, lawyers, musicians, writers, in short, potential protagonists of the nation’s development. That is, in addition to causing pain to relatives and friends and overloading the already exhausted health system, these deaths even have an economic impact. It is an inescapable issue.

One of the answers may lie in the statistics themselves, which attribute around 97% of cases to drug use and mental disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. These problems are prevented and treated, including free, in institutions such as the Center for Valorization of Life, which can be answered by calling 188, and in the Unified Health System itself. This needs to be communicated clearly and concisely to the entire population. May this Yellow September, Brazilian society embrace and spread this message.

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