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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Suicide: Quote from an article...."...the children can't take it anymore...."

Can it happen here? Let's pay attention to the warning signs.

Russian teens are killing themselves en masse, and the authorities, "seem oblivious", is the subject of an article dateline "Russia", translated, by Czech Republic writer Alexander Tretyakov.  The country (Russia) has one of the world's highest teen suicide rates, and in the past decade it's gotten worse, he reports in a translation published in the February 10, 2012 magazine "The Week". (page 14).  "The children can't take it anymore," is the title.

This tragic, information is attributed to a seriously lacking mental health care system in Russia.

"The problem has become so acute that a leading psychiatric institute has begun lobbying for a state-sponsored suicide-prevention program.  It wants the national health insurance plan to start covering psychological counseling, and for schools to start screening children for depression.  But, so far, the government has been unresponsive.  Bureaucrats are evidently unsure "whether it is worth their while to spend state money on such 'worthless' people, as the depressed and suicidal," reports Tretyakov.

This brutal response from the quoted bureaucrats is especially startling because the problem of youth depression must cut across socioeconomic levels, which would include their own children.

Moreover, from a pragmatic point of view, given Russia's birth rate is in decline, saving young lives might also help to grow their declining population. (Russian President Vladimir Putin recently directed his nation's parliament to develop a plan to reduce the country's falling birthrate. In a speech to parliament on May 10, 2006, Putin called the problem of Russia's dramatically declining population, "The most acute problem of contemporary Russia."-

Americans typically show disdain about comparisons to other countries. Usually, an unsubstantiated elitism exists when it comes to how we compare ourselves to people who live outside our borders.

Thankfully, though, America's mental health system deserves high marks for being acutely aware of the public health issues and care involved in untreated depression. It's important to recognize and treat depression, especially because, at its worst, the illness puts the stricken at risk for untimely deaths, not to mention, the consequences of negatively infecting work productivity and social relationships.

Yet, I was immediately stricken by the warning message in Tretyakov's article.

Americans are dealing with the problem of paying for health care for all our citizens, especially those who need entitlement assistance through Medicaid.  I hear the mantra, "we can't afford it...." cliche repeated so often it's causing a stigmata on those who happen to need the coverage; they are often referred to as though a scarlet letter "M" is embroidered on their chests.

So, the point of this blog is:

When Republicans, and politically conservative politicians and public policy wonks rail on "health care mandates", particularly regarding providing Mental Health Parity in insurance coverage, they do so at the risk of putting American young people in the same risk pool as those tragically untreated teens in Russia.

I sincerely believe this to be so.

Let's stop railing on health care reform! Rather, let's take pride in our nation's health care system's compassionate ability to reach out to the sick and the mentally ill whenever they need care.

It's in keeping with the Christian teaching about being our brother's keeper. Amen.



Blogger midniterainbow said...

I am also a Maine writer though never published. Maine has a long way to go before it can personally blow its own horn. In 2008 I know of three suicides in Brunswick, Topsham and had to fight for my own rights and life against the agency that was supposed to provide intervention.

3:56 AM  

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