Suicide the Answer for Russian Teens

Alcohol abuse, rigid parenting make matters worse
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2012 4:42 PM CST
This file photo captures the desolate Red Square with St. Basil Cathedral in the background, as heavy snowfall hits the Russian capital.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – For many Russian teenagers, the only way out is death. Experts there are already familiar with the nation's high teen suicide rate (about five a day) and know the causes all too well—but say solutions are hampered by prejudice and social conformity, the Washington Post reports. The most common causes are alcoholism, rigid parenting, domestic violence, and a profound prejudice against psychiatry that dates back to the Soviet era. “At home, you order, you enforce, you punish your kids instead of trying to understand them,” says a child psychiatrist.

The Post looks at two teens, Liza and Nastya, who committed suicide together after Liza couldn't afford singing lessons for the school glee club. Liza, the more complex and introverted of the two, posted online that she would “respect to the end the person who stayed with her to the end.” But "when you’re 14, you don’t clearly understand what suicide is,” says the singing teacher that only Nastya could afford. "'How pretty I’ll be at my funeral!’ They don’t understand they can’t watch the reaction. It’s the end.”

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