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What is behind Yucatán’s high suicide rate?

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Suicide rates in Yucatán continue to climb in 2021. Photo: Courtesy

A steep increase in suicides worries mental health professionals in Yucatán.

There has been widespread concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to a worsening mental health crisis. 

In 2020 suicides in Yucatán reached a historic high, with a case every 45 hours on average. 

During the current year, the problem only seems to be getting worse, with cases skyrocketing and reaching an average of almost one a day. 

Mental health professionals point out that measures designed to combat the spread of COVID-19 are having pronounced negative effects on the mental and emotional health of people around the world. 

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it an epidemic of suicide. This epidemic is spurred on by feelings of helplessness and post-traumatic stress,” said Carlos Valencia, president of the suicide prevention organization Instituto Ekac.

Depression and anxiety tend to feed on uncertainty, isolation, stressors, and loss — all of which are on the rise due to COVID-19.

According to the WHO, the world registers approximately 1 million suicides a year. These deaths account for approximately 50% of all violent deaths for men, and 71% for women. It is also the second leading cause of death for persons between the ages of 15 and 29.

People in Yucatán are five times more likely to die of suicide than from other violent causes such as murder.  

In Yucatán women tend to have higher rates of depression diagnoses, however, men are five times more likely to commit suicide.

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