Suicide, which is both a public health problem and a political one, is a global phenomenon occurring at very high rates. Three thousand 69 people lost their lives as a result of suicide in Turkey in 2017. The total number of suicides that ended in death reached 44 thousand 277 in the last 15 years. We talked to experts about the reasons for the high rates and the ways of preventing suicides.

Ayça Onuralmış reports from Turkey

According to the World Health Organization’s 2015 data, 800 thousand people ended their lives by suicide and the number of suicide attempts was at least four times more than this. According to a report compiled from the Turkish Statistical Institute’s (TÜİK) data by the Deputy Chair of the CHP, Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi, three thousand 69 people lost their lives as a result of suicide in Turkey in 2017. Men made up 77 percent of the deaths occurred, i.e. 2 thousand 368 men, and women accounted for 23 percent of deaths, i.e. 701 women. The total number of suicides taken place reached 44 thousand 277 in the last 15 years. While having a disease took the first place among the suicides the causes of which are known, the second place was taken by experiencing financial difficulties, and the third one was taken by family conflicts. As 233 of the suicide deaths (9 women, 224 men) were occurred due to financial difficulties, family conflicts were the cause of 128 deaths (33 women, 95 men; a total of 128 people).

‘A COMMUNITY IN WHICH PEACE IS ESTABLISHED MUST BE TARGETED’

The General Representative of the Platform to Stop Homicides of Women, Gülsüm Kav, in her assessment, said to halagazeteciyiz.net that when a society moves away from peace, democracy and rights, it also becomes distant from health. Kav also added that the increase in suicide rates in the last period in Turkey was seen as a result of events causing social tensions and access to guns as easily as obtaining anything through the internet, or sending anything by cargo. She also pointed out that these therefore also have a role in increasing the violence and the violation of rights. She expressed that the state itself, first of all, is responsible for preventing these from happening, and the first thing that needs to be done is to eliminate any types of preventable difficulties the citizens live with, and to aim to create a society where non-violence, security and peace are built. Kav then stated: “A ‘Suicide Prevention Program’ is immediately required to be launched, which involves a combination of many different services. National suicide prevention programs which have measurable targets, embrace the entire society, and are continuous are needed. At this point, the press of course has duties to do; suicide news should not create encouraging effects on people. News in this category should be created in its simplest way possible, and directing people with suicidal thoughts to appropriate services should be targeted.”

IS IT A SUICIDE OR HOMICIDE?

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute’s (TÜİK) data, it is noticeable that there was a higher suicide death rate in the young population in 2017. Of the 332 deaths caused by suicide in the 15-19 age range, 142 were women while 64 children aged 15 and under committed suicide. The number of suicide cases between the ages of 20-24 was 364, and the suicide cases between the ages of 25-29 were 330. Looking at the age ranges, the 20-24 age range represents the highest total number of suicide deaths; the total number of deaths up to 30 years old was 90 thousand.

According to the reports prepared by the Platform to Stop Homicides of Women, the forms of homicide, sexual violence and other forms of violence are also starting to affect the young population more and more.

On the other hand, Kav, who desires to see high quality research carried out about suicide in women, stressed that violence should be considered as a kind of suspicious death in conditions where violence is on the rise. She reminded that we, as the Platform to Stop Homicides of Women, have proved that some files closed as “suicide” were in fact “homicide” in a number of lawsuits.

Kav mentioned that on the one hand young women, like women from all generations, experience difficulties that men do not live with, and on the other hand young women are now targeted by today’s political power structures more than women from other generations in our current society. She made the following evaluation: “Young women are ceaselessly told what to do, they are told that they must marry, make children, and obey orders, and this is the same for all women; and in fact the concept of being a ‘favourable woman’ is imposed on young women by turning them into a target. We often know that they are under de facto attacks, on their way to somewhere, at school, during any means of transport, in the park, in the halls of residences, in any aspect of their lives. However, we can break this vicious circle not by giving up, but through a life struggle that will allow all young women to breathe a sigh of relief. At this point, I would like to tell my young female friends that they are never alone in any difficulties they come across. Never give up on your own life, we have a struggle to fight back, when we come together, we have lives to win for ourselves, and for all women.

‘ECONOMIC CRISIS NEGATIVELY INFLUENCING MENTAL HEALTH’

İlkiz Altınoğlu Dikmeer

The Vice President of the Turkish Psychological Association, Assoc Dr İlkiz Altınoğlu Dikmeer, also pointed out that the economic crisis is one of the important reasons affecting the mental health negatively. Dikmeer stated that the disruption of mental health is a condition that can be directly related to suicide, and said: “Suicide is among the top reasons for the death of young people. In a period in which adolescent storms break, in cases of rapid mood changes, hormonal agitations and adolescent impulsivities, suicide becomes a common occurrence. One can make an attempt with instant feelings and thoughts such as momentary anger, revenge and making others (family, teachers, friends, etc) pay a price, and regret it afterwards.”

Translation: Ümit Keskin