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October 2022

Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 1988 ; 344(): 55-63.

On the picture of depression and suicide in traditional societies.

Jacobsson L.

Department of Psychiatry I, University of Umeå, Sweden.

The paper deals with three problem areas regarding depression and suicide in traditional society; 1) What is the relation between the depression and suicide? 2) Is there any illness like depression all over the world? 3) What do we know about suicide in traditional societies? The author agrees with Drkheim's classical conclusion that the incidence of suicide in a society has no clear correlation with the prevalence of mental disorders and no clear correlation with different forms of mental disorders. There are a number of studies showing that depressive syndromes exist in traditional societies. However, there is a clear difference in symtomatology between different cultures which might be the result of differences in the conception of illness. The suicide rate is generally very low in traditional societies. The ultimate solution to an unbearable life situation is apparently known to all human cultures and the suicide rate is an important indication in every society of the existential conditions of life.

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