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Monday, September 25, 2017

Michael Khas’minskii: the State loses on the suicides of a huge amount of money

“Our school blurs the concepts of good and evil,” – said the newspaper VIEW Mikhail suicidology Khas’minskii, answering the question of why Russia is among world leaders by quantity of suicides among children and adolescents. In his view, suicidal behavior is the fault of incompetent teachers and system exam. Worse, suicide is pushing the school program.

This year children’s Day, celebrated worldwide on June 1, in Russia is marked by the fight against teenage suicide. The last two months of scandals involving the suicide of a minor, was one of the most discussed topics in the media and social networks. Especially loud was the publication of “the New newspaper”, highlighting the purposeful propaganda of suicides in the social network “Vkontakte”. However, it was later revealed that in some cases journalists manipulate the facts and put pressure on the informants, which violated the rules of professional ethics (in charge of the subject Deputy editor-in-chief was removed from office). Against this background, the CPS and the “League of Internet security” issued to journalists of guidelines on coverage of suicides. And many commentators urged the government to take this issue seriously.

“When he published a book “the sorrows of young Werther” by Goethe, in Germany, a wave of imitative suicides. The same thing happened in Russia, when he published “Poor Liza” Karamzin”

About the roots of the problem, the price we pay for it, and about how the school prevents not so much, how many helps of suicidal behavior in adolescents, the VZGLYAD newspaper spoke with the head of the Center for crisis psychology, the main expert of the site antisuicide pobedish.ru Michael Khas’minskii.

“Russia easily caught up with, and sometimes ahead of Europe”

OPINION: Michael I. how serious is the problem of suicide?

Michael Khas’minskii: In recent years the number of suicides we have in the country, and in Europe is somewhat reduced. This pan-European trend. But Russia, alas, is one of the leaders in the children’s suicides.

OPINION: as far As we know, the leader in suicides in Europe is little Lithuania. Why is it so?

M: Yeah, Lithuania for many years in the lead. To accurately explain this phenomenon can not but think that the reason given, that of suicide in Lithuania can be “charged” crime and accidents. Apparently, “clean” suicides, there is still not much, as statistics show. But, of course, Lithuania as an economically depressed region with a high level of anesthesia is at risk.

OPINION: what’s in Russia?

M. H.: In Russia at risk are always teenagers and old people. People who have not yet managed to find themselves in life and too easy to lose the ground under their feet, and, on the contrary, those who despair may realize that life is lived, day by day approaching decrepitude and death, and sometimes, unfortunately, life on the verge of poverty. However, about 20% of suicide is mentally ill people, another 10-20% commit suicide in the heat of passion. Statistically, tragically ends about one in ten suicide attempts, there are nine people still survive.

Result data of Rosstat, in 2014. In the far Eastern Federal district the number of suicides among the urban population to 38.1 per 100 thousand population, and among rural – 81,4. In Ingushetia in the city of 1.2, that is 35 times smaller, and in rural areas generally 0,0. About the same throughout the Caucasus. In Chechnya 0,0 in rural areas, 0.4 in the city. And in the Ural Federal is 35 cases per 100 thousand of population in cities and in rural areas – 72.

OPINION: How can the figures vary so dramatically? Do the mentally ill in DFO ten times more than in the Caucasus?

The head of the Center for crisis psychology Michael Khas’minskii (photo: vk.com/khasminski)

M. H.: This just can’t be. Similarly, as there can be to the socio-economic situation in the FEFD is so radically different from the socio-economic situation in Ingushetia. Yes, it should be noted that there are more attentive attitude towards the elderly. Yes, teenagers out there under more careful supervision. Yes, of course, in a communal society, they provide each other more support, this is also an important social factor. But still it cannot explain the extremely low level of suicides in the Caucasus. I see only one response: where a highly traditional society, where there is a taboo about certain things, suicide is a shame, it’s absolutely unacceptable, despicable behavior, it’s cowardice. The result of matching.

OPINION: it Turns out that people in the Caucasus, stops of public censure. But does the suicide bomber do not care what other people think of it?

M: of Course, this alone is not enough. The reasons that keep people from committing suicide, not only in the traditional way of society, but also in the spiritual and moral foundations that hold these traditions in the faith. And it’s not just in Islam. In fact, all the traditional religions impose on the absolute prohibition of suicide. As a practicing specialist in this area for all his works are not heard, to be truly a believer, a mentally healthy person has committed suicide. A true believer is an important clarification. Because it is possible to call yourself Orthodox, Muslim or Jew, but a believer is not to be. If you are a believer, he’s already a priori in the overwhelming number of cases do not go to a suicide. If we go back to the past, we will see that in the XVIII century in Russia, really a believer in an Orthodox country, statistics of suicides were the lowest in Europe.

VIEW: But Europe, too, professed Christianity, albeit the Western model.

M: And Europe of the 18th century, Christianity has gradually departed. After the Renaissance, brought the fashion for all things pagan, especially Greek-Roman, even suicide have become “trendy” because it is so often done full life Patricia. And the number of suicides there began to grow by leaps and bounds. When Russia began to become a country with violently imposed atheism and destroyed traditional morality, it is, unfortunately, easily caught up with, and sometimes ahead of Europe.

“Rush, girls in the pond is quite the place!”

“If we go back to the past, we will see that in the XVIII century in Russia, really a believer in an Orthodox country, statistics of suicides were the lowest in Europe”

LOOK: You want to say that without faith in God from suicide is not to escape? It is not enough secular morality? It is possible to explain to the child that suicide is bad, not involving God.

M: Morality is not based on the absolute that does not have its origin in God, can always be subjected to doubt and discarded. In addition, a believer’s easier to survive the tragedy: the fact that the unbeliever is an irreversible grief (e.g., loss of a close loved one), for the believer is a temporary separation. Finally, we believer a different system of values, he will not jump from the roof of a skyscraper, even if you get loans without the ability to give and will be forced to listen to threatening phone calls from collectors. And the chance to be in this situation, the believer is still less than that of the unbeliever.


M: Devoid of spiritual meanings society becomes consumer and is worried mostly about material things. No one is saying that material should abdicate, but the trouble is that a consumer’s attitude to life inevitably leads to crises, and they, in turn, can lead to suicide. While in the logic of consumption, people want to have more money, fame, recognition, sensations, feelings, emotions from them. He begins to think that it is my responsibility have the right to, should, may) to all so passionate about what he says advertising, but here’s the problem – not getting under the influence of external factors. Psychologists call it frustration. To relive the frustration means not being able to achieve the desired. This inability often acts as a trigger for suicidal behavior. Furthermore, it is now cultivated an unreasonably high level of self-esteem in all ways, is fueled by pride. What can we learn from consumer society? Take everything from life, you are worthy, come on, you can do it, everything is in your hands. And what? Self-esteem is raised, and the man himself is not risen. He didn’t learn anything, just swollen, like a soap bubble. And then under the influence of external factors, the bubble bursts. Deep disappointment in himself – and here you have another candidate in suicides. But even if the person really can afford almost unlimited amounts of material goods, he may also come to a standstill. Everything that can be eaten already received and tested, there comes a surfeit, not something to dream about, and then a blank wall of dead end, no purpose and desire to live.

OPINION: Perhaps the salvation is to talk to like you, understand that you are not alone…

M: On The Contrary! We still underestimate the danger of too much available information fields. Imagine a teenager who, on the one hand, taught that only he is worthy, he is the best and special, and with another – he sees that the world does not bend to him, sometimes even hurts. He opens up the Internet to find like-minded people – and finds some forum, which brought together such as teenagers in the age of depression. They are every day repeating to each other that nobody likes them, nobody understands that the world is ugly and ask the question – is it worth it to live here? These mutual outpourings are likely to be led to the suicide attempt. The teenager already can not critically assess his behavior, he sees the same people, they induce each other. As the spread of the Internet “syndrome of young Werther” has earned among the youth with great force.

I recall when he published a book “the sorrows of young Werther” by Goethe, Germany was swept by a war of imitative suicides. By the way, the same thing happened in Russia, when he published “Poor Liza” Karamzin. In the pond, which was mentioned in the novel, drowned after the book not one girl. On this subject even be folded an ironic couplet: “Here utopias Erastov of the bride. Rush, girls in the pond is quite the place!” Alas, jokes jokes, and “poor Liz” was enough. Information environment severely affects specific behavior, which is why it is very important to organize it.

OPINION: Why not let her organize themselves depending on the needs of the public?

M: I answer, that can be in the field, nothing to organize, nothing to weed, just to throw the seeds of cultivated plants themselves, they say, will germinate. It is clear that the weeds will score them, because any cultivated plant requires care. Everything that leads a person up, requires a certain amount of labor, but put to chance usually leads to entropy. Abundant evidence of this we see in the Internet and in real life.

“140 billion is just the tip of the iceberg”

“During the reign of Boris Yeltsin, the theme of suicide, the state was not at all interesting, and suicide rates were approximately two times more than now”

OPINION: Our government is somehow addressing the issue of suicides? From a purely practical point of view – does it make sense for the state to pay attention to this issue?

M: During the reign of Boris Yeltsin, the theme of suicide, the state was not at all interesting, and suicide rates were approximately twice more than now. People have lost their lives, and serious social problem is not considered. Now the trend towards improvement is visible, this problem began to pay attention. Perhaps, finally realized what a huge amount of money loses on suicides in the state. An attempt to calculate the damage was done a few years ago, the Institute of psychiatry in collaboration with the economic Department. The numbers are truly staggering. In 2013, damage from suicide was more than 140 billion roubles, and it is worth remembering that the exchange rate of the ruble was different then.

OPINION: how were these estimated 140 billion?

M: here is a very rough diagram. There are people of working age, in them the state has already invested and included: free education, treatment and so forth. Accordingly, it is expected that able-bodied people that will return their work, their taxes. Calculated approximate (of course, much average, but still) the income which it can bring to the state. Exactly that amount and poorer the state, when a man in the Prime of life commits suicide. Too pragmatic? But the state should be pragmatic.

And 140 billion is just the tip of the iceberg. As I said before, ends tragically, only one out of ten suicide attempts. And what about the other nine? Often they get injured, incompatible with normal life, are disabled, lose their working ability. And the state is forced to share the social burden, take care of invalids, not having the slightest hope to return this money. It is not 140 billion, this order of magnitude. Yes, it sounds even cynical. But, maybe such a cynical calculation forced to collect experienced by practitioners, scientists, public and religious organizations concerned about this problem, and create a real headquarters for the complex solution of the problem of suicide in the country. Hard to believe, but we are still nowhere taught in the specialization, as suicidology. And in the third region of the country do not have results service. And, of course, people dealing with this issue, should not be formalists, and to work for reports. I am convinced that to help the souls is possible only soul.

OPINION: Let’s get back to risk – adolescents. At school, PE was herself a student. Who is to blame, as could have been prevented?

M. H.: the Suicide of a student, the most dreadful event that could happen to a school, Institute, College or boarding school. If this happens, it is not left without attention of the leadership of educational institutions, shall be punished all the teachers, psychologists of educational institutions, Director and rector. All raise to figure out how this happened, why, who to blame, who is overlooked. Therefore, by the way, in the school plans outline antisuicidal preventive activities that should, in theory, to prevent this horror. But the trouble is that they often are purely “for show”.

OPINION: As the conversation with the school psychologists?

M: Psychologists and teachers of educational institutions, not having sufficient practice and knowledge in this thin region, the vast majority of cases, powerless. By the way, if you put in the search words “suicide” and “teacher”, we will see that among the teachers ‘ all is not well, among them, too often people with suicidal, depressive issues.

OPINION: So what happens to the children? In the beginning of the interview you said that Russia is the leader in the children’s suicides…

M. H.: One of the main reasons of teenage suicides around the world – a teenager finding his way in this life, but because of the lack of experience is not always able to adequately assess the depth and bitterness of their troubles. Unrequited love, the difficulties in relations with parents, problems at school – all this can lead to suicide. And now our Teens have and such, if I may say so, there is a specific cause for suicides, as the exam. The horror of the exam often start to catch up a few years before this unfortunate exam. The pressure, as I understand it, goes to the top – the Ministry of education presses on RONO, RONO puts pressure on school Directors, the teachers, and the teachers eventually bullied children into thinking that they motivate them. The life of a child for several years becomes subject to the goddamn exam, and failure is equated to the end of the world, to the fiasco of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the General hysteria can master and parents, and they, instead of support and make it clear that a failed exam is not the end of life, the more wind the child. Nothing to be surprised when weak, childish, proud, but did not pass the exam the student is afraid to go home, afraid of punishment or because of failed mom-dad. Pitch-black horror, which is unhappy teenager, failed the exam, unfortunately, can push for a radical solution. The level of teenage suicides usually jumps dramatically in may and June, in those months when school is written exam. The student sees suicide as the solution to the problem, as an escape from the troubles as “dignified” exit from a terrible situation.

“Thunderstorm” Ostrovsky is a former “Dom-2”

“Children at 14 years. The time teenage riots and vacillation, first, often unhappy love, clashes with his parents. That offers them the program? Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”

OPINION: But the idea of suicide just so the child’s head can not come. Perhaps there is some kind of push?

M. H.: This push can organize the school itself. If you look at the program in literature, one is forced to wonder who had the idea to fill her life with so many works where suicides come in the form of heroes, romantics and martyrs? There are who recommendations for the media, which read as follows: “should Not be interpreted suicidal behaviour as a natural reaction to the current social and cultural changes or deterioration of conditions in the community; the glorification of suicide bombers as martyrs or objects of social persecution may suggest suggestible persons thought that the society respects suicidal behaviour”. This is recommended because often suicide, especially among teenagers, is not a consequence of their own conscious choice, but a result of the copying and imitative behavior. I think many readers were teenagers and remember these thoughts: all went – and I went all do not want to live – and I don’t want to.

Thirty years ago the head of the Federal (all-Union) scientific and methodological Center of suicide-studying of the Moscow research Institute of psychiatry, Professor, doctor of medical Sciences, founder of the national school of suicide-studying Aina G. Abramova wrote: “Turning into a literary or cinematic stamp, reproduced in vast sea of compilations and artistic fakes, suicide becomes a model of behavior in real life as a socially acceptable method of resolving life drama”. Please refer to the school curriculum in the light of who recommendations and remarks of the Professor. Open a textbook in literature for the eighth grade, when children are 14 years old. The time teenage riots and vacillation, first, often unhappy love, clashes with his parents. That offers them the program? Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”. Sad and very romantic story about the same children, committed suicide. And what are all the school’s preventive measures, if the lessons they hear about such a sublime and romantic love of Romeo and Juliet – their peers, which is a misunderstanding on the part of parents has led to suicide. And it’s suicide for centuries makes them a Martyr and a heroic crown! It as well described the genius of Shakespeare, as expressive characters. Is compare with this preventive conversation on the topic of “Suicide is bad”? In the same the eighth class they read “the Caucasus by Ivan Bunin. There is also the theme of suicide. What should kids memorize? Death is the predicament, this is the output when you have been betrayed, deceived. Because many lack the spiritual framework that instinctively alienated them from committing suicide, would you look at this from a different point of view.

Go ahead. A little grown up teenagers read “Poor Liza” – the story of a girl utopias in the pond from unrequited love. We know the pond drowned Lisa, this pond was near Staro-Simonov monastery. I mentioned that there came to drown young girls. Karamzin, himself perplexed by the effect this book, said, “Good authors, think about the consequences of what you write”. And we – in the school curriculum, right in the restless soul of a teenager.

Tenth grade picks up the baton – the children read “Anna Karenina”. How can a teenager with no life experience to fully appreciate the way Anna, to adequately understand the reasons that led her to a tragic ending? It’s much easier to sympathize with her great love, and together with it to decide that there is no other way (here, by the way, in addition to more suicide and drug addiction). But this list of literary suicides is not finished – the children should read “the Storm” and “Bride”, works about suicide and the one that provoked his own murder. After this they are given an article about Dobrolyubov “a ray of light in the darkness” – about the suicide Katerina. Entangled in life, in my relationship with my husband, lover, she jumps off a cliff – and it served as noble, pure act.

OPINION: But one could argue that all of the above is a classic, it is a necessary cultural baggage.

M: Ostrovsky, of course, brilliant, but, hand on heart, what a good “Storm” teaches children? Not to sound too ignorant, but from the point of view of psychology, I believe that it is then “the House-2”. Solid intrigue, flirting, cheating, quarrels between the characters themselves. The only real “House-2”, fortunately, while it seems to be complete without suicides.

In the eleventh class the theme of suicide occurs in the refrain of “the Quiet Don”: commits suicide Daria, tries to commit suicide Natalia Korshunova. Let Daria is not the most positive character, but her suicide is still a feeling that she honestly paid for their sins. And about Natalia, and say nothing – she is a positive character, with it you can take an example. “Defeat” Fadeeva also included in the school curriculum. There are no suicides, but there is euthanasia: a wounded soldier, whom it is impossible to take out, I suggest poison. And how it may be perceived by today’s teenagers? So whether as he wanted Fadeev?

All these many suicidal “flavor” in the school curriculum – nothing like the glorification of problems. On this subject write essays, explain why the heroes and heroines have made such a move, support them, prove why it was the right thing to do. Throughout the school program suicide is rationalized and romanticized. At the same time, in my opinion, is not taken into account, developmental science, especially when you consider the infantilization compared to previous generations.

“The novel “How the steel was tempered” is antisocially character”

OPINION: But about the love of Romeo and Juliet, and about Catherine, about Karenina can be told so that children will understand: suicide is bad, it’s not an option. In the end, you can offer to write essays about how I could do the characters…

“The work of Fadeev “Young guard” in response to recent events in Ukraine, it would be very wise to have in the program instead of “Defeat”. Namely, this little book then and there”

M. H.: Yes, these materials may well apply, deploy them in antisuicidal side, but that the teacher need experience, you need a tool, you need knowledge and a solid spiritual Foundation. The practice also suggests that such teachers, who could convincingly, in a proper language, in an interesting for students to condemn suicide or Catherine to explain to the kids why Karenina and Vronsky is not real love, very little. For this we need to understand what real love is, to be able to convey to the children that this is not consumerism, not fornication and not a passion. That true love is sacrificial. Therefore, children come with the understanding that love is a drug, which just blows the roof, and it should almost always lead to suffering. Several times in school told them about it in detail and showed how it is possible to solve this issue, if something went wrong.

OPINION: the objection Suggests itself: we all read “Storm,” “the Quiet don” and “Romeo and Juliet”, but also not rushed into the lake and didn’t drink the poison. Maybe, after all, is not so terrible they are for the child’s mind?

M: of Course, not every teenager the book will encourage such action. But we know that there are a number of people with so-called suicidal discourse. It is approximately 5%, which considering the topic, I doubt, are in an unstable state. In these works, they can find social acceptance and rationalization of suicide. And it may work on them. And others it stays as a possible pattern, which can become popular when people fall into crisis. Interestingly, these works, except “the Storm” and “Bride”, was not in the Soviet school curriculum for literature. Question: how did they get there and why disappeared other works, which are explicit antisocially character: “How the steel was tempered”, “the Story of a real man”? Such works for now only partially present in most programs. Or works of the same Alexander Fadeev “Young guard”, which in connection with the recent events in Ukraine, it would be very wise to have in the program instead of “Defeat”. Namely, this little book then and there. Question: who among the Methodists in the Ministry of education fills the school curriculum suicidal paintings and, on the contrary, removes what has antisuicidal character? Why?

It turns absurd. On the one hand, teachers and parents want children to obey adults and not do the irreparable acts. On the other, give them 14 years “Romeo and Juliet” as a role model. It is a paradox that cannot be resolved from the point of view of common sense. Are there few works that would be worthy of inclusion in the school curriculum? Why is there no “Demons” Dostoevsky is a very relevant book. Why not include “Two captains” and do not propose to follow the example of Sani Grigorieva? To explain what love is, it would be great to study in school, “an open letter to the woman from the city of Vichuga” by Konstantin Simonov. But it is not.

The school in this case blurs the concepts of good and evil. Not even blurs, and puts on his head. If she approves the action of Romeo and Juliet is approval of evil. And it cannot be justified by the genius of Shakespeare, or links to the “beautiful literature.” In the end, of elegant style and had the Marquis de Sade – this is not a reason to insert his works into the school curriculum. In the end, Shakespeare is a great Comedy that can be included in the learning list. And the audience makes wonderful works, which could be replaced by “Thunderstorm”.

“The patient before death sweated? – “Sweated”, “That’s good!”

OPINION: Why now so much attention to how suicides are covered in the press?

M: Because, as is the case with the school program, whether we like it or not, imitative suicidal behaviour runs through the same “syndrome of young Werther”. And social support of its tragic idea people can easily find on the Internet, on TV or in a different information environment, which simulate the journalists. Therefore, the “League of safe Internet” together with a group of scientists and experts, among whom was I, prepared a list of recommendations for covering suicide in the media.

OPINION: Journalists from many publications such restrictions are cautious, perceiving as an attack on freedom of speech.

M: first, we are talking about recommendations. Secondly, journalists should like to welcome, because they don’t live in the sky, and in the same society. Suicide can affect them not only professionally, but also personally. I’ll tell you a story told to me by the witness of the tragedy. This is a story about a doctor who was on duty in the emergency Department of the hospital. That day he wasn’t in the mood to work, but had a number of personal urgent cases. In the hospital brought the accident victim, and when the doctor learned that the victim is unconscious, without documents, without relatives, then began to pull with assistance, believing that such a heavy patient is still a short time left. And he was right. But when the doctor walked up to the gurney to verify death, to his horror, saw that the victim of the accident is his son.

Alas, I know of many teachers, officials, journalists who suffer from the tragic loss of children, parents, relatives, neighbors, classmates and friends who voluntarily departed from life. And in some cases not the last role in the tragedy played information environment. Here I would like to recall the words of the wonderful poet Fyodor Tyutchev: “We can not predict how our word will respond”. Given that we all create this environment, and in particular – the journalists responsible for the publication of such materials increases. This situation should be viewed not from the perspective of the rights of the press, and from the point of view of how we, the public, not to harm their loved ones to careless words, replicated, sometimes for money, sometimes for fame. We all need to work to ensure that such unhappiness was less, and not worry about restrictions. After all, any of us would not object to rules that you can not enter the intensive care in dirty clothes.

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