SOCIETY: Youth suicides

>>Youth suicides are increasingly prevalent in Kazakhstan

ALMATY, Nov. 6 2013 – The suicide rate in Kazakhstan is growing, it is almost double the global average according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), worrying parliamentarians.

The starkest statistic is in youth suicides which have been creeping up. Suicides by people under the age of 22 make up roughly a third of all suicides in Kazakhstan, according to Kazakh government statistics.

In WHO’s, rather morbid, global league table, Kazakhstan sits in the top five for most suicides per 100,000 people with roughly 25 every year. Russia, by comparison, has 20 suicides per 100,000 people every year.

Media outlets and government officials blame new technologies and the abandonment of traditional Kazakh family values, the growing pains of an expanding economy, for the high suicide rate.

Parliamentarians, though, have another theory.

They have blamed the foreign punk culture and the melancholic, Goth-like emo sub-culture for the rise in suicides and called for symbols such as guns and skull and cross bones to be banned in schools (Oct. 30).

At a university canteen in Almaty, though, this theory was rubbished by a group of students.

“I know a couple of them that just wanted to show around the marks on their wrists,” Azamat, one of the students, said of teenagers following the emo fashion. “They don’t want to kill themselves.”

>>This article was first published in issue 159 of the weekly Conway Bulletin newssheet. To subscribe to the region’s best independent news product, click here

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