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High rates of suicide and attempted suicide using pesticides in Nickerie, Suriname, South America

By T. Graafsma, A.J.F.M. Kerkhof, D. Gibson, R. Badloe and L.M. van Beek


Suicide and attempted suicide are identified as a serious mental health problem in Suriname, especially in the district of Nickerie. An epidemiological study in the Nickerie catchment area revealed high rates of suicide (48 per 100,000) and attempted suicide (207 per 100,000) on average in the years 2000–2004. Particularly remarkable is the high number of attempted suicides among males (49%), and the use of pesticides in both fatal (55%) and nonfatal suicidal behavior (44%). Probably this high incidence of suicidal behavior reflects the very poor economic situation of the district, poverty of most of the population, high levels of alcohol misuse, domestic violence, the rigidity of Hindustani culture regarding family traditions, the accessibility of pesticides, and the lack of future perspectives. Health care alone will not be sufficient to tackle this problem. One of the most urgent measures to prevent suicides is to stow away pesticides in locked cabinets with the key held by the proprietor

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1027/0227-5910.27.2.77
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Provided by: DSpace at VU

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