Ice-Blog: Why high suicide rates in Arctic Russia?

DW-bannerBack at DW headquarters in Bonn after returning from Arctic Frontiers in Tromso at the weekend, I am sorting out notes and interviews with a wide range of experts on Arctic issues from all over the world.

One interview I would like to share with you here on the Ice Blog is a talk I had with Dr Yuri Sumarakov from the Northern State Medical University in Archangelsk in north-west Russia. It is the northernmost medical school in Russia and has a special focus on research into Arctic medicine and issues affecting the health of people in the Arctic.

Norway’s Arctic University in Tromso, location for many international encounters over the last week. (Irene Quaile / Deutsche Welle)
Norway’s Arctic University in Tromso, location for many international encounters over the last week. (Irene Quaile / Deutsche Welle)
Yuri Sumarokov is Head of the dept. of International cooperation at Northern State Medical University. (Irene Quaile / Deutsche Welle)
Yuri Sumarokov is Head of the dept. of International cooperation at Northern State Medical University. (Irene Quaile / Deutsche Welle)

People in the Arctic regions of Russia have a much higher suicide rate than in other parts of the country. The rate is higher again amongst indigenous people.

Sumarakov, himself a medical doctor, shared some insights into the ongoing research with me. The topic is not new and certainly not limited to Russia.

It seems though to be a topic that is not talked about enough, especially amongst politicians – and in the media. So let’s make a start. Please have a listen:

There is plenty of food for thought and I for one feel motivated to find out a little more.

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Irene Quaile

Irene Quaile

Scots-born journalist Irene Quaile has been specialising on the Arctic since 2007, when she made her first visit to Svalbard as part of an international media project for the International Polar Year and found herself “hooked” on the icy north. As environment and climate change correspondent for Germany’s international broadcaster until November 2019, she has travelled to the Arctic regions of Scandinavia, Alaska and Greenland, making radio and online features on climate change and its impact on ecosystems and people, and on the inter-links between the Arctic and the global climate. Irene has received several international awards, including environment gold awards from the New York International Radio Festivals and the United Nations. During a trip to the Alaskan Arctic in 2008, she created The Ice Blog. Read Irene Quaile's articles

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