Every year, 800 people in the world commit suicide and many times more try to take their own lives. Kazakhstan, a country in Central Asia that few Swedes know anything about and that occupies an area as large as the whole of Western Europe, is according to the World Health Organization WHO one of the countries where most suicides are committed among children and young people worldwide.
Kazakhstan was for a long time a Soviet republic and declared independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Thanks to natural resources in the form of oil and gas, many Kazakhs quickly gained a higher standard of living. But Kazakhstan, like many other countries in the region, is drawn to the Soviet legacy in the form of widespread corruption and authoritarian rule. The incidence of suicide among adults decreased as prosperity increased, but among young Kazakhs the suicide rate is high.
Studies conducted in collaboration with the UN Children's Fund Unicef show that the main reasons why young Kazakhs choose to commit suicide are due to problems at home or at school, depression and anxiety and that children and young people feel that adults do not care or can not listen. them. Kazakh authorities are aware of the situation and have taken several measures in recent years. In 2017, a helpline was set up where children and young people can call anonymously for help and support.
Suicide is a global problem, especially at a young age. Countries such as Kazakhstan are changing rapidly, which entails the risk of gaps in society, especially between cities and rural areas. The authorities in Kazakhstan therefore need to act in time and help children and young people who are feeling unwell. One needs to take the problem seriously and dare to start talking openly about mental illness, a topic that is still stigmatized in many former Soviet states.