Monday, 18 May 2015

An epidemic of emotional proportions

As I was researching through articles available on the internet on the subject of mental health disorders among university students, I came across many different names. Names of young people who are no longer with us. Names that carved deep a wound in their families' hearts and reveal that we are facing disaster. These people became mere statistics. Their names remain validated in the emotional footprint of the ones who will always love them, but their existence will sadly drop down to numbers in reports.  

Everywhere in the world where pressure is used as the ongoing strategy, some subjects fall. Everywhere there is a sudden change of approach asking for sudden acclimatization, some subjects fall. We are basically the only living species that races towards its own extinction as if an unstoppable oligarch management program was at full steam and could not be detained. This mesh of global demands is promoting a global epidemics and it's taking place in many different social realities. 

For example, Hungary ranks amongst the most suicidal countries in the world (17th in 25). But if you think money is the issue than look at Japan (18th place). The list of 25 countries with the highest suicide rates also sees the name of Poland, one of the emerging economies in the world [3]. 

When it comes to the focus group of this post, the number of students considering suicide and actually attempting it is growing in campuses all over Canada [1, 2].

Why? Students are at a very early age confronted with decisions that will have a huge implication in their lives and they start of in debt. But my personal opinion is that the biggest causal agent in the increasing number of graduate students looking for counseling services and psychological support of some kind is the modern social and professional systems. These favour competitiveness rather than cooperation, and also the enormous prejudice surrounding aspects like mental health disorder

I worked as an interpreter for NHS in the past, and as I was waiting for a patient to show up for the appointment I had the opportunity of exchanging a few impressions with the patient's practitioner. I told him that if they were able to change from a designation of "mental health disorder" to "emotional disorder", "mental health patient" to "emotional patient", most of the cases of mild depression, stress, anxiety would see an increase in the number of patients and a reduction of serious cases ending up in suicide. No mildly depressed person wants to be seen in the same pot as a schizophreniac, a bipolar, and the like. The 'judgemental' attitude of a system towards people in need of emotional counselling is forcing people, regardless of age, gender or religion, to feel scrutinised under the same doom spell as maniacs. And if one is not a maniac one doesn't want to be seen as one.

Everywhere in the developed world suicide is becoming an epidemic. But that is the end of the line, until a person reaches such a low point there is a toll of personal decay that drags the individual as well as the individual's family and friends to a very dangerous zone. And this is becoming worse every year with increased pressure for success institutionalized in people's lives from such early age.

If you read a research report by the WHO on global suicide rates among young people aged 15-19 [4] you will see where exactly the problem starts. There has been over the last few decades a rising trend in youth suicide [4]. This is ever more concerning when global suicide rates are falling.

Let's just look at these three random examples in the globe:


In 2012, approximately 17% of Canadians aged 15 and older, perceived themselves as having had a need for mental health care in the past 12 months. Counselling, at 12%, was the most common type of mental health care need cited by this group [2].

Boston (USA)


England and Wales

Families are generationally spaced from their offsprings. Time available for the family to support and actually monitor their youngsters is ever so reduced. An autistic fragmentation of communication is devised by the new digital Era. Media portray success as the only possible way to be somebody, and most of the time at all cost. Instability is a way of life nowadays. As things are at the moment most of the time it is up to you, as a friend, to make a difference in someone's life.

[1] Campus crisis: why are suicide rates rising among university students, [], last visited on the 18th of May 2015, last updated on the 27th of september 2013.

[2] Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health 2012, Statistics Canada, last visited on the 18th of May 2015, last updated on the 18th of september 2015.

[3] 25 countries with the highest suicide rate, list 25, [], last visited on the 18th of May 2015, last updated on the 21st of February 2015.

[4] Wasserman, Danuta, Cheng, Qi, Jiang, Guo-Xin (2005). "Global suicide rates among young people aged 15-19". World Pychiatry, 4:2, pp. 114-120.

[5] Students suicide rise during recession years, The Guardian Higher Education Network, [], last visited on the 18th of May 2015, last updated on the 30th of November 2012.

All images kindly taken from [].

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