Sunday, November 03, 2013

Economic Growth & Suicide in Chile

The Chilean economy has received an enormous amount of attention, maybe more so than any other Latin American country. We know a lot about the economic growth and social precarity that has accompanied it. The latter helps us get a grip on why there is so much protest.

What I've never considered, however, is the effect on suicide. From CIPER Chile, here is a really troubling graph from a really troubling article. It shows the change of suicide rate from 1995-2009 in OECD countries.

Chilean economic growth has involved "flexible" labor and a sense of vulnerability along with persistent (and for so many people, seemingly intractable, inequality). The rate of adolescent suicide has skyrocketed.

What the author concludes is that social supports have lagged far behind economic growth. As more young people hear about how great things ought to be, yet fall behind, they need ever stronger safety nets and social support, which at the moment are not there.


Anonymous,  8:06 AM  

Horrible but not surprising. Kids are forced into horrible voucher schools that treat them as a cost of doing business rather than as people -- class sizes are maximized, discipline often minimized, and the schools face no state inspections to make sure they are providing the minimum level of support for students.

Outside school, a majority of kids are raised by single parents in a country where taking a day off work for something related to your kids can be grounds for firing at many jobs.

Mental health in Chile is entirely "medicalized," to use the local lexicon. If you are having trouble, you get pills and very occasional half-hour therapy sessions from insurance (with a co-pay for each). Few jobs and schools allow people to just miss a day because they are stressed out; they require a doctor's note for a specific condition if people miss any work or school. (Of course some schools don't really enforce attendance, since they aren't properly inspected. But the rule is there all the same.)

Most people have few to no people in their daily life who can listen to modern problems and give non-judgmental answers. Teachers have 45 students per class and are judged on productivity, not student evaluations. Priests & ministers are mostly pretty backwards, unable to talk about things like pregnancy without simply judging the youths.

Expectations of cultural change (toward acceptance of gays, for example) and economic mobility have surged way ahead of reality.

These aren't problems that lend themselves to simple ideological solutions.

suicide cleaner 9:28 AM  

suicide in children seem to be going up throughout the world, strange times we are living in.

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