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We are all depressed here”. Perceptions of suicide in a neighborhood in Ciudad Bolívar (Antioquia)

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Author(s): Alejandra M. Alzate R | Juan G. Benitez M

Journal: Revista Facultad Nacional de Salud Pública
ISSN 0120-386X

Volume: 29;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 251;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Suicide | Ciudad Bolívar | Colombia | Qualitative Research.

ABSTRACT
The rate of death by suicide in the Department of Antioquia, Colombia, in 2010 was 5 per 100,000 people. In the last decade, Ciudad Bolívar, a coffee-growing town in southwest Antioquia, had a population rate of 17 per 100,000, this is almost four times as high as that of Antioquia and well above the national rate, which is 4 per one hundred thousand persons. Objective: to show the consequences of suicide and attempted suicide in the interpersonal relationships among the town’s people, their perception of this phenomenon and the authorities’ intervention. Methodology: this is a qualitative and descriptive research. We considered the experiences and views of the inhabitants of Ciudad Bolívar city regarding suicide in their community. The methods used to obtain the information were participant observation, interviews, and document review, which are tools from investigative journalism. Results: suicide no longer affects social relations because it has become part of the landscape: there is acceptance and people even view the suicide victim as a brave person. The Mayor's Office acknowledges that the actions undertaken to control these deaths have not been assertive enough. Conclusion: it is necessary to create a network for promoting mental health and strengthening social ties. Also, suicide prevention campaigns designed for and in this particular municipality should be planned and executed. Ciudad Bolívar constitutes a challenge for health professionals, the academia and the authorities.
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