Understanding Suicide in Socially Vulnerable Contexts: Psychological Autopsy in a Small Town in Mexico

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Abstract

In Mexico, suicides are increasing in certain latitudes where local rates have grown to levels of alert; suicide is also the second most common cause of death for the group aged 15 to 19. The psychological autopsy method was utilized to uncover and analyze common factors in all of the registered suicides within 2011 and 2012 in a small town of the state of Guanajuato, located in the center of Mexico. A total of nine decedents were analyzed, and 22 interviews were conducted. The most salient factors were as follows: poverty, financial stress, substance abuse, low levels of education, conflictive relationships, and a poor handling of emotions. The concepts of social exclusion and vulnerability were employed to analyze suicides as symptoms of a much deeper problem of this country, suggesting that anomie and social malady are nowadays important suicidal factors, mostly for children and young people.

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