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Teen Suicide Increases and Recent Cases Mobilize Brazilian Schools

04/25/2018 - 11h24

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MARINA ESTARQUE
FROM SÃO PAULO

Suicide rates among children and teenagers in Brazil have increased in the past few decades, and recent cases involving São Paulo's students have led to the mobilization of private schools to tackle the problem.

Between 2000 and 2015, suicides rose by 65% among people aged between 10 and 14 and by 45% among those aged between 15 and 19 – percentages higher than the population's average of 40%.

A study conducted by sociologist Julio Jacobo Waiselfisz, from the Latin American School of Social Sciences, based on data from the Ministry of Health, indicates that the rates in such groups (0.8 and 4.2 per one hundred thousand inhabitants, respectively) are lower than the overall rate (5.5). However, the rise of such rates is cause for concern.

Three students from elite private schools in the capital of São Paulo committed suicide in the past two weeks - two from Bandeirantes school and one from Agostiniano São José. Rumors about games and apps have been circulating in social media, leaving parents concerned.

Bandeirantes school states the cases were not connected and denies any relation to games or apps. Agostiniano São José school said it "rejects derogatory comments published in social media".

Professionals mention issues such as sexuality, difficulty to deal with frustrations, bullying, pressure to choose a career and to perform well at school as conflicts teenagers and children have to deal with and which can make matters worse.

Moreover, social media may portray a false image of happiness more frequent than not, which may contribute to their suffering.

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

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