Suicides among young Guarani /Kaiowá in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

According to the latest data from the Fundação Nacional de Saúde (National Health Foundation - FUNASA, 2008), the State of Mato Grosso do Sul shelters the second largest indigenous nation in Brazil, with 66.963 indians, among which 40.245 are Guarani/Kaiowá. Still according to FUNASA, 410 suicides were committed in this nation between 2000 and August 2008, a number that does not take failed suicide attempts into account. Most suicides were men and 65% were 15 to 29 years old. Their most common method is hanging. The present work presents the conclusions of studies related to the problem causes, emphasizes the conception of bewitchment, with implications on the concepts of life and death instincts, collective unconscious and suggestion. The compulsory confinement process to which this group has been submitted, which includes the overpopulation of their villages and the imposition of new beliefs, values and leaderships unfamiliar to their culture are mentioned as causal factors. Beyond the urgent revision of the government’s policy regarding indigenous land, we suggest the ransom of their ethnic identity as a way to affirm and reorganize the Guarani/Kaiowá group.

Indians; Youths; Suicides; Culture

Conselho Federal de Psicologia SAF/SUL, Quadra 2, Bloco B, Edifício Via Office, térreo sala 105, 70070-600 Brasília - DF - Brasil, Tel.: (55 61) 2109-0100 - Brasília - DF - Brazil