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ABP will work against stigma surrounding people with mental illness

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The Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP) will work, in 2023, against the stigma – or prejudice – that surrounds people with mental illness in Brazil. The president of the ABP, Antônio Geraldo da Silva, stated that people are afraid to say that they suffer from a mental disorder, often in order to escape prejudice. And this prejudice leads to the creation of self-stigma and also structural stigma, and can end up leading to suicide. “It is necessary to end the difference, with the mental stigmas”, he pointed out.

Silva defended that there be public policies for mental health and that medicines for mental illnesses, such as antidepressants, be sold in the popular pharmacy, facilitating access for people in situations of greater economic vulnerability. He recalled that mental illnesses are a major cause of absence from work. Before the covid-19 pandemic, he mentioned that 5.8% of the Brazilian population had depression. Now, according to the Vigitel 2021 survey, from the Ministry of Health, the number has evolved to 11.3% of Brazilians with depressive symptoms.

Campaign

Antônio Geraldo da Silva informed that the Yellow September Campaign, of the ABP, which aims to raise awareness of society against suicide, will be reinforced from next year. In 1994, when the campaign was started by the entity, Brazil registered around 9 thousand suicides a year. Today, that number has risen to 14,000 registered suicides/year. Silva estimated, however, that the real number of suicides in the country reaches around 50,000/year, through various means, such as multiple trauma, poisoning and intoxication.

The president of the ABP also warned that suicide rates are increasing among children and adolescents. “This is very serious!”, he observed. In the opinion of the president of the ABP, the increase in suicide rates is due to the absence of public policies.

Violence and mental illness

Another topic of interest to the ABP for the next year is the one that deals with violence and mental illness, “because 96% of people who commit violence are not mentally ill”, he said. According to Silva, the mentally ill are not violent if they are treated. “The perception of violence in the ABP is with alcohol and drugs, which refer to urban violence.”

* Reporter Alana Gandra traveled at the invitation of the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP).

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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