Assessment of suicide preventative activities in Kazakhstan: Kyzylorda and East Kazakhstan regions

Assessment of suicide preventative activities in Kazakhstan: Kyzylorda and East Kazakhstan regions

Мальчик дома, Караганда
UNICEF/2018/Valera Kaliev


Kazakhstan is among the countries with the highest suicide rate in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In particular, between 1981 and 2008, while many other countries showed a decrease in suicide rates, in Kazakhstan suicides increased from 22.5 to 25.6/100,000. This increase was particularly important in the male population. The majority of deaths from suicide were young people between 18 to 29 years old, accounting for 80% of the total number of suicides. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death from external causes of Kazakhstan adolescents. Mortality among children and teenagers in rural areas tends to be higher than those in urban areas.

Suicide is a complex phenomenon, thus, the prevention of it needs to be tailored accordingly. Suicide is shaped by a number of interacting cultural, social, psychological, biological, and situational factors with mental health problems acting as the largest risk factor. Young people are reluctant to look for professional help because of the stigma of mental illness and, for similar reasons, may also be afraid to address the issues of mental pain to their peers. In an effort to make suicide preventive strategies effective for adolescents as well as culturally appropriate, it is important to consider local attitudes toward suicide. Furthermore, it is imperative to take into account the feelings of pain and grief experienced by any community, family or individual that has encountered a suicide. Mental health is inseparable from physical health and both are intrinsically linked to human rights. Poor mental health can affect the wider health and development of children and adolescents. However, the research on suicidal behaviour and its risk factors is growing and in several countries with high suicide rates effective prevention programs have successfully reduced the incidence of suicide.

Camilla Wasserman, Columbia University, New York, USA, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Publication date
Russian, English

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