Work developed in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, to stimulate the debate on suicide as a way of promoting mental health will be presented at the 32nd European Congress of Psychiatry, held in Budapest, Hungary, in April 2024. The initiative, the result of the partnership between Clínica Jorge Jaber and Associação Sociocultural Semearte, involves around 140 students aged between 13 and 22 who participate in meetings with professionals in the field of psychiatry where they interact through lectures, conversation circles and art. The focus between the clinic that has been operating for almost four decades and the organization that offers cultural workshops in the community is to stimulate discussion and clarify doubts and fears surrounding the topic.
“It will be a very rich experience to share this project developed in Rocinha with the international psychiatric community. A transformative initiative for the lives of these young people and which can inspire many other actions around the world”, says psychiatrist Jorge Jaber, responsible for the work.
The first meeting took place in September, the month dedicated to suicide prevention, at the Parque da Rocinha Library. The second will be held on November 18th, starting at 10:30 am, at Cine Estação Botafogo, where students will watch the video produced by filmmaker Cavi Borges, from Cavídio, who has been documenting the entire process.
“The expectation is that these 140 young people who will participate in the debates will become information multipliers and can help with prevention work. Our purpose is to rescue lives through art and mental health is a fundamental element”, explains the president of Semearte, Talita Santos.
The first meeting, on September 9, served to measure the level of young people’s knowledge about suicide. They attended a lecture by the Jorge Jaber Clinic team, and together evaluated the answers to the ten questions they received upon arrival at the event. Suicide has become a present theme in the lives of young people who study theater and dance at Semearte. Recently, they lost a friend from the community, a future member of the theater group, in this way, which generated, in addition to sadness, apprehension and doubts.
“Among young people, the suicide rate rose 54% from 2009 to 2019, becoming the second cause of death, behind only traffic accidents. And the WHO states that 90% of episodes could be prevented, which makes the problem even more bleak”, says the psychiatrist, who has been working in the community since last year in partnership with the Instituto Desportivo Cultural Haroldo Britto, which offers free judo courses for 80 children and young people between 7 and 14 years of age in Rocinha and Chácara do Céu.
The aim of these partnerships is to promote mental health through sport and art. Jaber remembers that many cases of suicide are associated with mental disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder, problems that can be prevented and treated.
“Meetings with the association’s students are a response to this need. And this second stage also takes them to a traditional cultural space in the city, bringing them closer to the world of arts and entertainment, where many will certainly be able to work after the course at Semearte”, he adds.
The Semearte Sociocultural Association serves around 140 children and teenagers and temporarily operates in the community’s Parque Library, promoting theater and dance activities. In October, the group debuted, at Teatro Vanucci, the show “Rio”, inspired by the 2011 animation of the same name, directed by Brazilian Carlos Saldanha and a huge success in cinemas. Dance students perform at soirées at schools in the region. And the goals for the coming months are to deepen the work with music and singing and create a project for qualification in the audiovisual area to provide professional guidance to graduates.
“We carried out a recent survey in the community and the majority of young people responded that they prefer to stop studying to work, so we showed them that there is a perspective for their lives, but it is important to prepare”, explains Talita Santos.
The idea is that the two meetings on suicide are just the first part of a partnership with Clínica Jorge Jaber, within the project maintained by the association called “Rodas de Conversa”, when students debate with professionals in a playful way about important issues for this issue. age group, such as early pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Suicide has long ceased to be a taboo and today it is the focus of the campaign called Yellow September, a month dedicated to its prevention. Health authorities consider suicide to be a complex occurrence, influenced by psychological, biological, social and cultural factors, which causes more victims worldwide than AIDS, breast cancer and even homicides. In Brazil, among the 12 thousand cases registered per year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a considerable proportion occur in people between 15 and 24 years of age.
The project with Rocinha students is the result of a partnership between Clínica Jorge Jaber and Semearte. The event on the 18th has the support of Cavídio and Estação Botafogo.