Yellow September: The importance of a support network

Yellow September: The importance of a support network
Yellow September: The importance of a support network

Per Tamara Mendonça

Brazil is one of the countries with the highest suicide rate in the world, according to a survey produced by DATASUS. The data are from July this year, and indicate that the number of suicide cases in Brazil has risen from 7,000 to 14,000 in the last 20 years, which means that there is more than one suicide committed every hour, not counting unreported cases. . In this sense, it is important that there is an awareness of the population and an intervention through public policies to understand and change this scenario.

The Yellow September campaign is an action organized by different health entities to combat suicide. The campaign focuses on bringing the topic to the fore for discussion, since it is often approached as a taboo, so that forms of prevention can be thought of.

There is no way to predict who will commit suicide, but it is possible to assess some individual risks. The main warning factor is related to the verbalization of suicidal ideation. If the person constantly mentions the unsustainability of this emotional exhaustion, the fact that he ‘can’t take it anymore’, shows himself to be deeply hopeless about the possibility of getting out of a crisis, it is necessary to be alert.

Other possible warning factors may be related to persistent isolation from social environments, lack of perspective on life or general desire (including for the performance of daily activities that were not so painful before). In any case, it is necessary to analyze case by case.

It is important to verify if the person has access to a social-affective support network; leisure; to decent working conditions, income and survival; access to health and quality sleep and rest conditions. The mobilization of a support network for suicide prevention is fundamental, both as a support for emergency cases and because the bonds are very powerful for the production of meanings for the subject, so that he/she sees himself/herself supported and as someone whose life matters to those around him.

In addition, the construction of a care network, which can involve multiprofessional support (in terms of health) and various areas of the individual’s life (family, work, school, circles of friends, leisure fields) is extremely relevant. in the sense of providing comprehensive care to the subject. Since, as suicide is a multifactorial process, it therefore requires integrated actions, but starting from different paths, as long as they are always guided by reception.

The main ways of action and prevention are the reception, the activation of the support network and the viability of access to information. It is important that the subject is heard/welcomed by those to whom they ask for help, without judgments, comparisons, and other attempts to reduce their suffering. This is possible through professional listening, for this reason it is important to guide the individual at risk to seek this type of help, preferably already making possible services available that meet this type of demand.

Therefore, it is important that those who make up the individual’s support network and are willing to be with him/her understand that their role is different from professional follow-up. Both are relevant to the reception process, but different. For this reason, it is important to ensure that, in addition to a care network, the individual has access to listening and treatment conducted by trained professionals. In addition, it is essential to mobilize the individual’s closest and trusted support network, so that this support comes from multiple directions.

Finally, it is essential that Yellow September is not treated as a punctual and purely marketing campaign, as seen in some business and advertising strategies. But let it be a constant, a commitment of both the population and governments in relation to mental health care – since the indices can be mitigated, among other factors, by the implementation of public policies and collective actions.

Tamara Mendonça Professor of Psychology at Estácio


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Yellow September importance support network

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