Suicide Rates Among Vietnamese Youth Are Increasing
In Vietnam, there is concern about the increasing number of suicides among young people. Statistics show that 60 percent of suicides among young people occur in poor, urban families or in rural areas. The explanation given is that the parents of those children have less understanding of the psychological state of their children.
Thu Phung, 14, cut her wrists with a razor after her grandmother scolded her for not cleaning up her things. The number of teens who appear to be committing suicide for trivial reasons is on the rise, says Thai Thuy, director of the Child Psychology Department at Children’s Hospital No. 2 in Ho Chi Min City. Although there are no overview figures on the number of suicides across the country, a marked increase is noticeable in hospitals in the capital.
Nine-year-old Phan Huu Phuc had been selected to enter a competition for good students in An Giang province. The principal contacted the boy’s father to ask if his son could participate, but the father indicated he had more important things to do. When Phuc discovered that his father’s more important things were getting drunk with friends, he drank agricultural poison.
Lam Xuan Dien, director of the Center for Spiritual Health in Ho Chi Min City, says 145 cases of suicide were recorded in the capital last year. 90 percent of the cases involved young people between fourteen and twenty years old. Many of them had to deal with divorce, sexual abuse, difficult living conditions or family problems at home. About 40 percent of these youths suffered from a mental illness, most of them depression, says Dien. The fact that there are so many cases of suicide is because parents and other adults do not understand the emotions of the child.
Thoughts of suicide are more common during puberty, says Phan Thu Trang. But lack of understanding from parents can make it an extremely difficult time for kids, she says. Hurtful comments can have a huge impact on children, especially if they are made repeatedly.
We need to teach parents better and other educators how to deal with their children’s feelings, says Dien. Although suicide is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide, the problems among young people in Vietnam have hardly received any attention, he says. Another study described the prevalence of suicidal behaviors and depression among adolescents in Hanoi, Vietnam, and examines the associated factors. In 2019, a school-based survey was conducted in three high schools in Hanoi and 661 high students were included into the study. We found that the prevalence of 12-month suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, and suicide attempts were 14.2%, 5.5%, and 3.0% respectively. Therefore, developing psychological care services in school is imperative to the early detection of mental disorders and the prevention of suicidal behaviors for the students.
Between 36,000 and 40,000 people in Vietnam commit suicide per year among the sharp rise in the number of local people living with depression. This is more than 100 each day.
Suicidal behaviors and depression “among adolescents in Hanoi, Vietnam: A multilevel analysis of data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2019 (2020). Huyen Nguyen Thi Khanh*, 1, Luong Nguyen Thanh*, 2, Thanh Pham Quoc2, Cuong Pham Viet2, Duc Duong Minh2, Anh Le Thi Kim2
Annual suicide rates in VN peak due to depression (2017)
1Institute of Population, Health and Development (PHAD), Hanoi, Vietnam
2Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam