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Coronavirus

Why The COVID-19 Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting Teenage Girls The Hardest

A growing number of studies around the world show that COVID and lockdown restrictions have prompted a disproportionate increase in mental health illness and suicide attempts among adolescent females.

Catherine Zorn had struggled through her youth with mental health until discovering a passion for dance that helped suicidal thoughts and panic attacks largely disappear. “Then the pandemic ripped away her lifeline. In March 2020, her dance school shut down.” So begins an article by Rose Wong and Kailyn Rhone for the Tampa Bay Times, about how COVID-19 has brought a rise in teen suicide attempts, particularly among girls, in Florida, and elsewhere in the United States.

It is a situation mirrored in other countries around the world, two years since the pandemic sparked lockdowns and school closures, taking away the normal means of socialization for millions of young people at a formative age of their development. And evidence points to a disproportionate impact on teenage girls.

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“Five Years Of Hate” – Being LGBTQ In Poland Has Gotten Worse

With Poland's ruling Law and Justice party and the Catholic Church using gay rights to stir up a culture war, the country's LGBTQ community is feeling the effects. Depression and suicide are rising dramatically, and many now feel they have no choice but to leave.

WARSAW — Suicidal thoughts, violence and lack of support from state institutions. This is the grim reality faced by Polish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and asexual people outlined in the report "The Social Situation of LGBTQ Persons in Poland."

Gay rights have become a divisive issue in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. The ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) has used the issue to galvanize supporters, declaring it "a great danger" and an "attack" on the family and children.

“The situation of LGBTQ people has not really improved, but rather gotten worse," says Mirosława Makuchowska, deputy director of the Campaign Against Homophobia. The organization – together with the association Lambda and the University of Warsaw's Centre for Research on Prejudice – published a report last week that describes the situation of non-heteronormative people in Poland in 2019-20.

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"Emotional Stripping," A Pop Idol's New Path To Exposure

Billie Eilish and Demi Lovato represent a new kind of performance artist for our confessional times.

In Billie Eilish's 2019 video for "Bury A Friend," the then-17-year-old singer blurs the lines between being in a nightmare and being committed to a psychiatric hospital.

"I want to end me," she repeats six times before the song ends.

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The Second Wave And Risks Of Rising Suicide Rates

PARIS — After first reckoning with the physical toll of COVID-19, the world also began to register the risk of rising rates of depression and isolation as the first wave of the virus forced hundreds of millions of people to stay confined at home for months at a time last spring. But now the second wave is raising the stakes, as mental health experts warn about the risk of an uptick in suicide.

Some parts of the world have already been experiencing "waves of suicides' such as Malawi, which reports a 57% increase between January and August in comparison with 2019, or India, as the pandemic put many out of a job and without financial resources. But according to a French study, with a second wave taking its toll on people's hopes and long-term economic effects, the worst is yet to come.

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Germany
Gian Domenico Borasio

Don't Call It Suicide: What Words To Use In Right To Die Debate

Someone who is terminally ill and wants to die faster does not 'commit suicide,' says this German palliative medicine physician. Words matter.

-OpEd-

The Federal Constitutional Court held hearings in April about complaints against paragraph 217 of the German Penal Code, introduced in 2015. This law created the new offense of "business promotion of suicide", which is supposed to only prevent the activities of assisted suicide groups, but effectively prevents any possibility of medically assisted suicide. The law is in sharp contrast with the wishes of the vast majority of the population and is regarded by many legal experts as out of touch and unconstitutional.

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India
Leah Utyasheva and Michael Eddleston

Suicide By Pesticide, A Preventable Plague In India

NEW DELHI — The ban on highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) currently being debated in India will not only protect the environment and improve the public health but will also achieve another rarely acknowledged goal: a rapid and major reduction in the number of Indians dying from suicide.

The Supreme Court, which is currently deliberating the case challenging the government's delay in banning HHPs identified by the Anupam Verma Committee, has a major role to play. The case emerged following a public interest litigation by Kavitha Kuruganti and others filed in 2017.

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SHARGH

Terror In Tehran, Who Gains From Ugly New Middle East Twist

The two deadly suicide attacks in Tehran, at the Parliament and inside the mausoleum of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, appeared as the latest in the litany of woes terrorists have brought to the Middle East. It may also mark a whole new chapter in the region.

Iranians, in spite of the political and economic turmoil around them, have so far remained protected from the worst kinds of urban terrorism affecting countries like Iraq or Afghanistan. Until Wednesday's attacks, which killed at least 17, terrorism was something they watched happen on television in Baghdad or London — or on rare occasions have flared along the borders with their troubled neighbors.

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EL ESPECTADOR
Sergio Silva Numa

Why Are Indigenous Youth Killing Themselves In Colombia?

BOGOTÁ — Suicide used to be rare among the native communities of Vaupés, a region in eastern Colombia with the largest proportion of indigenous residents. That's not the case anymore. Decades of hostility between the region's native inhabitants and outsiders has had devastating results.


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Germany
Von Bernd Kastner

Traumatized Young Refugees Present New Challenges For German Doctors

For psychiatrists at Munich's Heckscher Clinic, underage migrants who have fled war and violence, often alone, represent a difficult new group of patients.

MUNICH — Mohamed has destroyed his cell phone's SIM card, for his own emotional protection. He can't handle any more horrible messages from home — like the one about his older brother being shot.

Mohamed fled from Afghanistan, one of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who spared no effort to ultimately reach Germany. He first arrived in Iran, where he worked for a couple of months. Then it was on to Turkey, where he was imprisoned for a time before boarding a boat in Greece that capsized, killing many on board.

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Terror in Europe
Frédéric Joignot

Psychology Of Suicide Bombers — Inside The Kamikaze Mind

Researchers across the globe are trying to understand what drives the sense of martyrdom to which terrorists aspire. Complicating the explanations is the fact that these killers have a wide range of psychological profiles.

PARIS — "They detonated." This expression is being used increasingly in newspapers and on television to describe the acts of suicide killers. What happens in the minds of these people who wrap themselves in explosive belts to shed as much blood as possible? What drives these young people born in France to commit such criminal offenses before killing themselves? Since the 1981 suicide attack against the Iraq embassy in Beirut (61 dead), which marked the beginning of a series of suicide operations, battalions of researchers around the world have been trying to understand what drives these self-destructive terrorists.

In France, the journal Etudes sur la mort (Studies on death) dedicated an entire issue to the subject. Italian psychiatrist Antonio Preti explains that "suicide with hostile intent" has a long history. It's a form of immolation in which the suicide attacker destroys those he deems responsible for his decline. It's the only way he can find to take revenge. It's the violence of a desperate man.

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Germany
Felicitas Kock and Simon Hurtz

One Of Our Own Was A Suicide Killer - Lufthansa Pilots Struggle To Cope With Lubitz's Act

That one of their own aircrafts crashed, killing 150 people, is disaster enough. But that a colleague deliberately murdered all those people is inconceivable to pilots and staff of Lufthansa and its low-cost carrier Germanwings.

MUNICH — German pilots and cabin crews have been in a state of shock and mourning since Tuesday, having lost six members of their Lufthansa family. After the Germanwings Airbus crashed in the French Alps last week, killing 150 people, multiple employees have reported sick because they were simply too upset to work.

An accident of this scale would be tragic and difficult enough to process, but the realization that a colleague of theirs intentionally crashed the plane into the mountains in an act of suicide and mass murder is almost incomprehensible.

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CLARIN
Gustavo Sierra

Could Iran Have Assisted Argentine Prosecutor's "Suicide"?

The accusations Alberto Nisman was set to make were harmful to Iran's interests. And the known intelligence superpower is expert at disposing of its enemies. Many in Argentina doubt that Monday's death was a suicide at all.

-OpEd-

BUENOS AIRES — Shortly after the 1994 Buenos Aires bomb attack on the AMIA Jewish center, U.S. intelligence agencies said the attack had been ordered by the Quds Force, an agency of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and implemented by Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia backed by Iran.

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Germany
Fanny Jimenez

Train Suicides, Helping Conductors Who Can't Stop In Time

MUNICH – After soccer star Robert Enke took his own life in November 2009, public dismay at the news was considerable. At a memorial service in the Marktkirche church the next day, followed by a funeral march in Hannover attended by some 35,000 people, fans were out in force for the German national soccer team’s goalkeeper.

Unknown to the general public, Enke had suffered from severe depression for years. The mood of the march was also characterized by intense sympathy for his family whom Enke had apologized to, asking for forgiveness for taking his own life in a farewell letter addressed to them.

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LES ECHOS
Frédéric Potet and Marion Van Renterghem

Suicide Vows: When Elderly Couples Bid Farewell Together

The recent dual suicide of Bernard and Georgette Cazes at Paris' landmark Lutetia Hotel is a symbolic nod to the right-to-die movement, but also a melancholic reminder of eternal love.

PARIS — They are already a legend, Bernard and Georgette Cazes, the elderly lovers who chose to die together because one could not live without the other. The stoic symbolism of their joint suicide at the shared age of 86 is perhaps more romantic because of the location where it was carried out: a luxurious Art Deco room of the famed Lutetia hotel in central Paris.

A few days after the couple's death on Friday, Nov. 22, several of their friends received letters Bernard Cazes had sent them. The one addressed to Michel Kantor, a colleague from the magazine La Quinzaine Littéraire, ended with “Farewell, friend.” The one received by Dominique David, from the French Institute of International Relations (FIIR), had been written with a steady hand. It said Bernard's wife was losing her eyesight and that he could not imagine living without her. “You should know that we will do anything we can to end our lives. It is with difficulty that I bid you farewell,” he wrote.

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EL ESPECTADOR

Suicide Epidemic Plagues Indigenous In Brazil

The Brazilian indigenous Guarani nation has had their land taken away and way of life threatened - now a new study shows the suicide rate is 34 times higher than the national average.

To mark World Mental Health Day earlier this month, the human rights organization Survival International has presented new, shocking figures on the suicide epidemic striking Brazil’s indigenous Guarani people.

The Guarani nation, which numbers more than 46,000, has suicide rates no less than 34 times higher than their country's national average, and as Britain’s Guardian newspaper observed in a special report, the death rate in the Dourados camp housing one Guarani community is 50% higher than in Iraq.

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