The growth in the amount of suicides in Mexico has caught the attention of the World Health Organization who dictamined that, in Mexico, there is a suicide epidemic and the United Nations Organization detected that 60% of children´s suicides in Mexico are direct consequence of bullying and other sorts of harassing, said Dr. Ana Maria Chávez, researcher and professor of the Psychology Department in the University of Guanajuato.
She said that suicide is a worldwide public health problem and in Mexico it is the second cause of death among youngsters between 15 and 29 years old, second place, only beaten by traffic accidents, it´s alarming because its incidence has grown the last few years, altogether with Internet social media.
Parents and relatives of youngsters between 15 and 29 years old, teachers and different area professionals as well as society in general, must be prepared and make an effort to diminish the occurrence and consequences of this problem, she said. Chávez Hernández visited the Distinguished Professor Class at CETYS University campus Mexicali, to participate in the Distinguished Class PIMSA at CETYS University, campus Mexicali where she delivered the Keynote Conference “Suicidal behavior in children and teenagers, the role of Social Media in this issue”. The aforementioned numbers coincide with the increase of suicide up to the fifth place as the main cause of death among Mexican minors between the ages of 10 to 14 years old, Baja California is 17th place nationwide in suicide mortality in people of all ages, with a 5.5% rate for each 100 thousand residents, which is about the national average.
Suicide is a phenomenon which tells us of the shifts in the social tissue and in that sense now tells about the excessive time children and teenagers spend in social media, where they relate to very aggressive and violence inciting stimulus, viral challenges that imply self-harm among other living experiences to which they are exposed there”, said the specialist.
What can we do?
To take care of such a problem it is necessary to acknowledge that it is real. “Suicide and the suicide attempts of minors in Mexico, are a reality and it will still be so at least for two more decades, so it´s important to obliterate myths and be aware of how to act in an adequate manner and create support networks to avoid any person’s drastic, sudden and premature death”.
Restricting or banning the use of smart devices and social media among children and teens is far from a solution to this problem, said Dr. Chávez, since their use has become a social trend which has become hard to beat, nevertheless, education and attention granted to minors will be a determining factor in social media becoming a tool or an enemy.
Some positive measures that parents and teachers may adopt, are the implementation of applications which restrict sexual and violent contents in their mobile devices, as well as establishing a schedule for their use of smart devices and, most of all, have good communication with the children and teens.
“We have to listen to them and stay alert for signals such as dramatic weight loss or gain, changes in their sleeping patterns or their eating habits, when someone starts to say goodbye, give away his or her belongings and insinuate that “I won´t bother anyone anymore” and openly talking about taking one´s own life, they must be taken very seriously, not as a joke”, said Chávez as a warning.
Form the clinic perspective, the incidence of children and teen suicide must be approached in an interdisciplinary fashion. “This means that all types of professionals are important for this behavior attention, which is complex and multifactorial besides that, every professional may contribute to inform citizens in order for them to be more participative and sensitive regarding the subject”
Dr. Chavez pointed out the fact that, particularly, mental health specialists must work to complete their academic formation, update their knowledge thus being able to offer a better attention because she considers that a person with master and doctorate degrees are determining factors for the specialist to be able to take care of this problem with more efficiency.
She finally indicated that specialization in this area is not exclusive for psychologists since other health professionals also intervene in the patients support and attention: “For instance, a psychiatrist, that is an M.D., if he´s interested in working with people with suicidal risk, must also study these specialties”.
CETYS University has alternatives to foster and enhance the formation of professionals who are interested in the ambit of psychology, all those interested can approach the Grade Studies area of CETYS University to get acquainted with what CETYS may offer them regarding the programs in Neuropsychology and Psychology Masters Degrees, and they can also obtain further information in the internet page https://www.cetys.mx/oferta-educativa/posgrado/ .