Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lost hope, lost families: Suicide rates in Kosovo spiking

I've noticed it in newspaper articles regularly, I haven't stopped to think that much about it.  I've seen crime scene photos of the dead, without knowing much about the issue.  The suicide rate in Kosovo is climbing.  So far this year more than 30 people have committed suicide, more than twice that have attempted to take their own lives.

Blamed on failing family cohesion, post-traumatic stress and growing hopelessness about Kosova's future, young people are increasingly vulnerable to a pernicious hopelessness that is ending in a noose, a drug overdose or a pistol shot.  According to a recent BIRN article, things are only going to get worse.

Eight years after the war, Kosovo is stuck in the economic doldrums. The World Bank’s Poverty Assessment classifies 37 per cent of the population as “poor”, meaning they live on less than 1.42 euros per day. Fifteen per cent of the population live below the extreme poverty line of 0.93 euros per day.
Many believe that these alarming statistics - coupled with the fact that Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe, with 50 per cent of the population under 30, few of whom have much perspective of getting a job – are creating conditions for further trauma.

This is so sad because traditional families ties are failing; young people especially are living with greater and greater anomie.  In Kosovo today many are looking for an antidote.  Some are looking to their traditional faith.  Some are looking towards business.  Some are looking towards political liberation.

All will be disappointed.  People will continue to take their own lives as hoped for solutions disappoint. 

There is only One antidote.  How many will find It?  How many will share It?  These are the two questions that concern me most about Kosovo's future.


Read more on BIRN .

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