Although you would like to say you cannot be measured by a number, you are! Studies implemented to assess projects and decide whether to implement them or not reduce you to a number, just like they judge the value of a building.
The world is heading in a clear direction: focus on development! Although, it seems like a great thing, easing our lives, take a minute to explore its impact:
We can notice how the more developed countries have, in general, higher suicide rates each year, especially more recently. To demonstrate this further, we take a look at the following visualization comparing average suicide mortality rate (per 100,000 population) per given years across the main regions we are considering:
What is the point?
The point is that we should put more emphasis on our well-being and our connection with the world instead of only focusing on materialistic development. Whenever we take action on something, we must evaluate the impact, and in the case of development, the signs are not good.
However, it is not too late to make a change. Bhutan, the happiest country in the world, prioritizes the mental well-being of its citizens. It is the only country that uses the gross national happiness indicator (GNH) just like other countries focus on the gross national income.
The following visualization shows the average suicide rate per country instead of region:
Notice how Bhutan falls in the range of countries that average from 0 to 5 suicide per 100,000 population compared to other countries that average more than 30 in the range of given years (2000-2019).
We recommend people to prioritize their well-being and mental health, but most importantly, governments to realize that economic and materialistic development is not yielding that wanted outcome. To prioritize humanity, governments ought to start taking GNH into consideration with every decision they are making.
The sustainable development goals set by the United Nations outline the global targets to be achieved by 2030. Among these, SDG 3 focuses on ensuring health and well-being for all, and more specifically SDG3.4 targets the mental health well-being.
We can see in the graph that males suicide rate is much more higher, approximately three to four times, than females suicide rate, no matter if the country is developed or not. And this applies to approximately all countries if not all.
But what is the main cause? the root cause underlying behind this? MASCUNALITY.
Social expectations weigh heavily on men, discouraging them from expressing vulnerability and seeking for help, creating a silent struggle, and isolating them in their battles with mental health.
The call to action is clear:
Challenge stereotypes around mascunality by promoting for a more inclusive and open understanding of mascunality and challenging the social norms that prevent men from showing signs and expressing weekness.
Promote mental health education by encouraging mental health programs and addressing the struggles men face.
Finally, let men have access to mental health services.
Finally, we need to keep track of the rates. For sure if the plan is going to be in action, these rates will go down.
HIV persists as a noteworthy communicable disease in Europe and a substantial risk in the Arab world, posing a significant health challenge. This infection is associated with considerable healthcare costs for treatment and care, a noteworthy mortality rate, and a reduction in life expectancy. The virus specifically attacks the immune system, resulting in a persistent and severe illness with an extended incubation period before symptoms manifest.
The average prevalence from 2005 to 2021 reveals notable trends. While some Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Iraq, do not consistently report HIV statistics, the available data highlights the prevalence of the disease in Arab countries situated in Africa. In contrast, European countries, particularly Portugal, Latvia, France, and Italy, exhibit higher prevalence rates.
Within the Arab world, there is an upward trend in the percentage of HIV incidences in Yemen, Algeria, Qatar, and Tunisia. Conversely, Djibouti, Mauritania, Morocco, Comoros, Sudan, and Libya exhibit a decline in HIV incidence rates.
Within the Euro area, there is an increase in HIV incidences observed in Slovakia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, and Ireland. However, a decrease is noted in the Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Portugal, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Spain, and Croatia.
HIV prevalence is higher in European Union countries compared to Arab countries. There was an incline in Arab countries around 2020, while in the European Union, the trend experienced a decrease in 2017, followed by a slight upward movement.
We will be focusing on these countries in the following visuals.
Most countries do not report parameters related to children living with HIV and newly infected children. However, the available data indicates that in Algeria and Morocco, both the number of children infected and the number of new cases are on the rise. In contrast, Djibouti has successfully decreased these numbers, as has Mauritania.
In our selected focus countries, notable instances of HIV infection among the female population are observed. Within Arab countries, Djibouti, Comoros, Mauritania, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia exhibit a high prevalence. Similarly, in EU countries, France, Portugal, Latvia, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Italy show a high number of females infected with HIV.
Antiretroviral therapy coverage has seen an increase since 2005 in Djibouti, Mauritania, and Morocco within the Arab world, as well as in Latvia and Bulgaria. The effectiveness of the treatment is reflected in the declining incidence cases observed. However, in Algeria, despite an increase in treatment coverage, the number of incidents continues to rise. A similar situation is noted in Slovenia, suggesting that the treatment alone may not be sufficient to curb the spread of HIV.
Information pertaining to condom use and protected sex is currently unavailable, emphasizing the need to gather this specific dataset.
In conclusion, Europe & the Arab World are far from meeting global HIV targets. Annual new HIV infections from AIDS-related illness are on the rise. While treatment can contribute to reducing the prevalence of HIV in a country, it is just one aspect of a comprehensive approach. Relying solely on treatment is inadequate. Nations should prioritize addressing other impactful factors, including:
Implementing prevention programs that effectively reach key populations in substantial numbers.
Making special efforts to enhance and extend HIV testing and treatment initiatives.
Increasing engagement with the younger demographic.
Enforcing effective policies such as mandatory testing for work or residence permits, mandatory testing for marriage, and criminalizing activities such as sex work and drug use or possession for personal use.
In a world teeming with progress, one persistent challenge darkens our collective horizon – the rising specter of suicide. Behind the cold statistics lie countless untold stories of despair, each one a testament to the urgent need for a compassionate and effective response. Let us delve into the stark realities that underscore the gravity of this issue.
The global landscape of suicide mortality rates is a sobering tableau. Over the years, the data reveals a consistent gender disparity, with male suicide rates consistently surpassing those of females. Between 2000 and 2019, the male suicide rate remained at an alarming average of 16.075%, overshadowing the female rate. While there has been a slight decrease in the overall rate, from 11.63% in 2000 to 9.33% in 2019, the persistence of high numbers and occasional spikes, like the one in 2013, signals an urgent need for intervention.
Economic disparities exacerbate the issue, as revealed by the Gender Distribution of Suicide Mortality Rates by Income Class. Notably, those with low income levels exhibit lower suicide rates (9.71% for males and 4% for females), hinting at a potential link between financial struggle and mental health. Paradoxically, the highest suicide rate is observed among high-income males, reaching a staggering 21.23%. The reasons behind this economic divergence merit careful consideration.
Zooming in on a country-by-country perspective, certain nations emerge as outliers, bearing the weight of exceptionally high suicide rates. Lesotho, Eswatini, the Russian Federation, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Ukraine, South Korea, Botswana, Latvia, and Hungary are among the nations grappling with disproportionately high suicide rates. Identifying patterns within these outliers offers crucial insights into potential factors contributing to the crisis.
We should collaborate on comprehensive mental health education programs to destigmatize mental health issues and foster a culture of open communication. Developing targeted support systems for individuals facing economic challenges will address the intricate relationship between financial struggles and mental health. Strengthening community support systems to identify and aid individuals at risk ensures that no one is left to battle their demons alone.
Comprehensive Strategies for Mental Health Advocacy against Suicide could be the following:
Collaborate with educational institutions to integrate mental health education into curricula, focusing on destigmatization, early detection, and coping mechanisms.
Implement awareness campaigns to reach a broader audience and enhance understanding of mental health issues.
Establish programs offering financial counseling, employment assistance, and mental health resources tailored to different income groups.
Foster partnerships with businesses to create inclusive work environments that prioritize employee well-being.
Develop community-based mental health initiatives, including support groups, helplines, and outreach programs.
Encourage local leaders to champion mental health awareness and facilitate resources at the grassroots level, strengthening community outreach efforts.
In conclusion, conducting pilot programs in select regions to assess the effectiveness of the proposed solutions is a necessary step. Moreover, utilizing quantitative and qualitative metrics, such as changes in suicide rates, public awareness, and community engagement, will help evaluate the impact of implementing these measures.
Upon validation, refining and scaling successful programs for broader implementation is the next logical step. Advocating for policy changes that prioritize mental health and allocate resources to address the multifaceted challenges contributing to the global suicide crisis is crucial. Remember, breaking the chains requires a collective effort – a united front against the darkness that shrouds the lives of those grappling with the heavy burden of despair.
Lebanon’s public education sector has grappled with numerous challenges in recent years, such as a shortage of spots in public schools, strikes by primary and secondary teachers, and various other issues. As a previous student in the public sector, STRIKE! was the most common act I encountered from my teachers. A lot of strikes and movements were organized by teachers, asking for their rights, increased wages, etc.. This was a great disabler for an efficient learning journey, where stability, the most important aspect was absent. Such a state deprived students, in one way or another, of having access to free and inclusive educational institutions/schools. For that reason, a comprehensive study I conducted revealed that a significant number of students have turned to private schools as an alternative, highlighting a critical problem in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of providing quality and inclusive education for all students.
To address the issue of the lack of educational opportunities in public schools, which should be guaranteed by the government, as the 4th goal of SDG states, an examination of Lebanon’s education expenditure as a percentage of GDP was undertaken, where reflects the amount of money the government spends on education, in addition to another factor, which is the percentage of government’s expenditures on education as a percentage of total expenditures, These 2 metrics are then considered particularly in comparison to France, given Lebanon’s adherence to the French Educational System. The analysis of these two metrics exposed a disparity, with Lebanon’s current education expenditure as a percentage of GDP having risen since 2019 due to the economic crisis, reaching 2% in 2022, compared to France’s 6%. Although Lebanon fares well in terms of the percentage of education expenditures compared to other sectors, with a steady increase since 2014, reaching nearly 8% in 2020 in contrast to France’s 10%, the gap in GDP percentage remains concerning.
In conclusion, addressing this issue requires recommending an augmented budget for Lebanon’s educational sector. Ideally, a tripling of the budget over the next decade is proposed. This increase could be implemented gradually, but decisive action must be taken to ensure progress towards the SDG of providing quality and inclusive education for all Lebanese students.