The number of teenagers and youths who self-harm is on the rise in Mexico after the pandemic, a trend that worries specialists as it is a risk factor for suicides, the psychiatrist Paola Alejandra Gutiérrez Galindo told EFE on Thursday.
“This rise in self-harm and suicide attempts, even if they are not highly lethal, continue to be a risk factor for suicide. Not all those who cut themselves want to die but the risk of having a suicide attempt increases, ”he said after participating in the International Congress on Advances in Medicine in Guadalajara.
The specialist affirmed that although in the months of isolation due to covid-19 they did not have higher rates of attempts to take their own life, since 2021 they have increased to fifty % emergency psychiatric consultations for people who harm themselves or have suicidal ideation, mainly among women and adolescents.
He explained that this behavior is common in adolescence, a stage in which people have few skills to manage their emotions and communicate.
This same population was the one that faced adaptation problems both to the period of isolation that forced them to get away from their social circles and be with their family all day, and to return to their schools, where many of them live with harassment or bullying.
“For them it has been very stressful to first adapt to the pandemic and then reintegrate into the school systems and the social part, plus all the basic mental pathologies they already had. Both circumstances were a stressor and since they are people who are still developing, they are more vulnerable to mental pathology.”he explained.
He stated that deliberate self-harm is the first step on a path that can culminate in death and that goes through stages such as suicidal ideation with or without a structured plan and making an attempt to die or put oneself in danger.
These phases are only overcome if the person has adequate medical, psychological and psychiatric care.
According to the patients seen by the specialist at the New Civil Hospital of Guadalajara, some of the reasons for self-harm are the lack of tools to express their stress level, poor communication skills, and as a way to punish others.
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