08/08/2017, 19.03
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Mideast: a "lost generation" of children and young people due to murder, suicide, and war

A study found that in 2015 ten times more people died from suicide and murder than in war: 1.4 million vs 144,000. There has been a "sharp increase" in cases of mental illness, but the region lacks specialist to treat them.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – In the Middle East, acts of violence like murder and suicide and not only war have created a "lost generation" of children and young people, without resources in the present or hope for the future, this according to a report published in the International Journal of Public Health.

The study, which covers 22 nations as Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and the United Arab Emirates, found that suicide and murder took ten times as many lives as war, particularly among men.

In all, acts of violent accounted for 1.4 million deaths in 2015. By comparison, wars in the Eastern Mediterranean region – home to 600 million people – took 144,000 lives.

In the past, scholars and experts had sounded the alarm for the future of the region’s generations. In its 2015 study UNICEF noted that wars and violence had deprived 13 million children of the right to education and the opportunity to go to school because of destroyed or damaged facilities.

What is more, it is not only the physical damage to schools that hurts, but the "desperation" experienced by an entire generation of students who see their hope and future shattered.

"Intractable and endemic violence is creating a lost generation of children and young adults," said lead author Ali Mokdad, director for Middle Eastern Initiatives at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. "The future of the Middle East is grim unless we can find a way to bring stability to the region."

Among the findings, researchers noted a "sharp increase" in mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"In 2015, nearly 30,000 people in the region committed suicide and another 35,000 died from interpersonal violence, representing increases of 100 per cent and 152 per cent, respectively, over the past 25 years," said the report. 

"In other parts of the world during the same period, the number of deaths from suicide increased 19 per cent and interpersonal violence by 12 per cent."

At the same time, experts such as counsellors, psychiatrists and psychologists are in severe shortage.

Countries such as Libya, Sudan and Yemen have just 0.5 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. In comparison, among European nations the ratio ranges from nine per 100,000 to more than 40.

Researchers also found a ten-fold increase in deaths related to HIV/AIDS between 1990 and 2015.

Most of the cases of death from HIV/AIDS occurred in Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan. Where HIV patients do not receive timely and proper treatment.

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