Eye on Cuba: Theme Report Mental HealthPublished: Feb 16, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes
Constant violence that is part of political repression involves serious repercussions for the victims, and mental health is one of the most affected areas. Undoubtedly, “When living in Latin America under governments that undercut human rights, citizens are constantly under pressure. Fear and anxiety … are a day-to-day experience.” As a result of this, mistrust emerges among people, and little by little this leads to an isolation that limits social interaction and in which one prefers to keep silent rather than freely expressing one’s opinions. Similarly, those who are persecuted are constantly experiencing the fear of dying, being tortured or being “disappeared”. In this way, the State gradually manages to eliminate the sense of common belonging and safety that all people have when they feel at home.
In the case of Cuba, subjected to a dictatorial regime led by Miguel Díaz Canel, human rights violations and political repression are part of daily life for those inhabiting this island. According to the Pan-American Health Organisation, alarming data exist concerning the status of mental health and suicide in this country: “Cuba is one of the countries with a rate above 10 for every 100,000 inhabitants.”¹² ;The province of Havana is the one with the most cases (a total 205) in 2021, followed by Holguín and Mayabeque. It has also been determined that suicide is the third most common cause of death among adolescents living in Cuba.