Suicide in Yucatán, a social problem more than a mental health problem: Julio González

Photo: (Yucatàn ahora)

Mérida, Yucatán, (August 16, 2021) .- Suicide in Yucatán, during 2020, turned out to be the third leading cause of death. Although it is a commonly considered mental health problem, specialists and researchers see it as a social problem, which interweaves various situations such as inequality, religion, control, among others. Julio González González Durán, reporter and journalist, found interest in investigating the subject for his master’s thesis in Journalism on Public Policies, in contrast to the fact that Mérida is considered “the safest city” in the country, but at the same time it is one of the first places in suicide, creating the thesis “Autopsy of Suicide in Yucatán.”

González remembers reading about a philosopher who said “when someone decides to take their own life, we are doing something wrong as a community”, since the life of one person involves the other and vice versa.

Suicide, he explains, is fed by social factors, considering that inequality and injustice can lead to it; For this reason, during one of his visits to Yucatán, he was interested when Gaspar Baquedano López, director of the School of Conscience (ECO) and coordinator of the Comprehensive Suicide Attention Program (PIAS) at the Yucatán Psychiatric Hospital, points out that most of suicides occur in the south of the city or in places with economic deprivation.

“It is more likely to die by choice than someone decides to take your life, in a country where the opposite is more likely.”

He finds that the Yucatecan authorities try to address the situation as a mental health problem and, although depression and anxiety are usually thought at first when hearing “suicide”, he questions “what is it that feeds them?”

Therefore, from public policies, it considers that the care is not proving efficient or comprehensive, since even the creation of a Mental Health Institute for the entity was left on paper and it does not have a building to go to for help.

He also highlights as an aspect to consider that “most of the people who commit suicide in Yucatan have alcohol in their blood at the time of committing it”; Since the (National Health and Nutrition Survey) ENSANUT 2018 positions Yucatán in fourth place in alcohol consumption in the population over 20 years of age, with 25.6 percent, while the national average is 16.4 percent.

Taking as a reference his interviewee, Baquedano López, points out that suicide is created, because it is not a virus. “Where would I put the focus: what is being done in the blocks, neighborhoods, where more people are committing suicide?”

This year 214 people have committed suicide, eight months after the start of the year, the number almost reaches the figure that the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) registers for 2020, that is, 243.

With the contingency for Covid-19, he points out an increase in suicides in older people, as they are going through financial problems because they cannot afford the expenses that their family requires, “it is mentally created out of frustration.”

But he makes it clear that suicide is multifactorial, it is not only due to the pandemic, but it is due to the psychological, family, substance abuse, economy, among others; He finds the economic factor as one of those that has destabilized and despaired many people and families during the pandemic.

“The children are very anguished because they have lost contact with the game that is necessary at their age, with their classmates and that is limited”, with which he considers childhood a group very affected by the contingency.

To this, he adds that close coexistence, along with economic problems when there are any, great influence on an existing situation, “it is not the first time that we have so many suicides, Yucatan has been like 30 years ahead in the country in terms of to suicide, with these circumstances it gets worse ”, although he acknowledges that such a high number had never been presented.

In order to avoid this type of self-imposed death, the specialist asks to stop seeing it as an exclusively medical problem, “because the community has the idea that it is a mental health problem, from the Ministry of Health, from the government and it is not like that. ”.

He extends an invitation to join his virtual sessions from the School of Conscience, where he gives workshops and talks on suicide care, hoping to give them a hand.

Source: La jornada maya

The Yucatan Times