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Suicide attempts in South and Central America 

Suicide attempts in South and Central America
Chapter:
Suicide attempts in South and Central America
Author(s):

Neury J Botega

and Sabrina Stefanello

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198570059.003.0018
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date: 18 September 2019

Data on suicidal behaviour in Central and South America has derived from mortality statistics. Suicide rates in most countries of Central and South America are considerably lower than in North America and Europe. The recent increase in suicide rates particularly afflicts young people. An increase in suicide rates have also been reported among indigenous groups, and seem to be related to extreme pressure exerted by Western society, self-devaluation and alcohol misuse. A WHO worldwide initiative for the prevention of suicide (SUPRE-MISS) multi-centre study estimated the life prevalence of suicidal behaviour in a large Brazilian city at 17.1 per cent for suicidal ideation, 4.8 per cent for plans and 2.8 per cent for suicide attempts. Urban violence and high homicide rates have overshadowed the problem of suicidal behaviour in Latin American countries. It is only recently that awareness of suicidal behaviour among adolescents and young adults, as well as violence (including suicide) and prevention policies have received government attention. Apart from Brazil, most countries in that part of the world lack national suicide prevention programmes, however actions are underway in Chile and Argentina.

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