Chronic Exposure To Violence May Affect Mental Health, Contribute To Rising Suicide Rates In Mexico
The Conversation: Rising suicides in Mexico expose the mental health toll of living with extreme, chronic violence
Cecilia Farfán-Méndez, postdoctoral scholar at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego
“…[N]ew data from the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua reveals the dangerous mental health toll of living with extreme, chronic violence: suicides. … According to government data from 2016, Chihuahua state had the highest and fastest-growing suicide rate in Mexico. … Local researchers believe that chronic exposure to traumatic events causes the kind of severe mental distress that can lead to suicidal behavior. … These results are consistent with mental health surveys in other conflict zones. … Such results have contributed to the World Health Organization’s classification of disaster, war, and conflict as suicide risk factors. … Chihuahua’s suicide crisis may well indicate a simmering public health emergency in other Mexican states with high murder rates, including Michoacan and Guerrero — not to mention in neighboring countries like El Salvador and Honduras that remain far more violent than Mexico. With 2018 on track to be another year of record murders in Mexico and president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador taking office in December, this [is] the moment for Mexico to begin grappling with the hidden, longer-term costs of its bloody drug war” (8/2).