Young people in the developing countries need specially customised suicide prevention programmes

It is vital that both cultural and gender differences are taken into account when drawing up programmes aimed at preventing suicide among young people in low- to middle-income countries. This is the conclusion of a doctoral thesis from Sweden's Umeå University.

"Suicide among young people is a global health problem. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding about the factors that affect the risk of and about the importance of different suicidal expressions in many low and middle-income countries. In order to implement effective preventative measures it is necessary to study the differences in suicidal expressions between different countries," says Bhoomikumar Jegannathan, PhD student at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Umeå University, who will be defending his thesis on the subject.

He says that many young people in Cambodia have challenges in negotiating between old traditions and modern life. Besides, there is an ambiguity within Buddhism when it comes to the understanding of suicide; cultural influences from other countries may be contributing to an increase in among young people. Conflicts with parents can put young people in a difficult situation and some view suicide as a means to escape from these difficulties.

In his thesis, Bhoomikumar Jegannathan, who is also child psychiatrist in the Kandal province of Cambodia, has conducted questionnaire surveys where school students can anonymously state their mental health status, life experiences and whether they had ever had a death wish, , or if they have ever planned or attempted suicide. In one study, he also compared different expressions of suicide in Cambodian and Nicaraguan youths. Nicaraguan teenagers reported more suicidal expressions than Cambodian teenagers, on the contrary the Cambodian teenagers reported more than Nicaraguans. Suicidal problems were associated with mental health problems in Nicaragua, unlike in Cambodia which shows that the associated factors differ from culture to culture.

His thesis contains a study in which he investigates ways in which the educational programme Life Skills Education can be used to influence the mental health of young people and their ability to handle life's situations. The programme is made up of six modules and is taught by specially trained teachers.

"These results show the importance of taking cultural and gender-specific differences into account when preparing suicide prevention programmes. It is also vital that we analyse what triggers these suicidal expressions among teenagers. It has been established, however, that school-based programmes create possibilities for improving and preventing suicide among in Cambodia," says Bhoomikumar Jegannathan.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sociology professors asks 'Is teenage suicide contagious?'

Apr 11, 2014

A paper on teenage suicide written by two assistant professors of sociology at the University of Memphis will be published in the field's flagship journal, the American Sociological Review, in April. "Are Suicidal Behavi ...

Promising biomarkers to predict suicide risk

May 02, 2014

In a Review, published to coincide with the launch of The Lancet Psychiatry journal, Professor Kees van Heeringen from Ghent University in Belgium and John Mann from Columbia University in the USA discuss the stress-diathesis theory ...

Recommended for you

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

Nov 21, 2014

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

Nov 21, 2014

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

Could there be a bright side to depression?

Nov 21, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—A group of researchers studying the roots of depression has developed a test that leads them closer to the idea that depression may actually be an adaptation meant to help people cope with ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.