Global Health: 800,000 people commit suicide annually, and the Corona has changed


10:05 PM

Tuesday 29 September 2020

I wrote – Doaa Al-Foli:

The new Corona virus, which affected more than 33 million people in the world, was nothing but a trigger pressure that showed what citizens need to monitor their mental and mental health, and to deal seriously with psychological crises, from stress, through disorders to thinking about suicide, especially in countries Middle and low income

The tenth of September every year, the world commemorates the International Day for Suicide Prevention, while the month has become the scene of many awareness-raising activities in different countries to prevent suicide and help those looking for psychological support.

Masrawy interviewed Khaled Saeed, WHO Regional Adviser for Mental Health and Addiction; In it, he talks about the latest statistics related to suicide in the world, and why the organization is facing difficulties in some eastern Mediterranean countries in monitoring suicides.

What are the latest statistics on suicide worldwide?

800,000 people lose their lives every year due to suicide, while each suicide corresponds to 20 more attempts.

In 2016, suicide was the second cause of death in the world, between the ages of 15-29, while the situation appears to be worse in low- and middle-income countries, as 79% of suicides worldwide occur in them, and the death rate is 1.5 men to one woman.

How has the emerging corona virus affected the global mental health map?

We can observe the extent of pressure that citizens suffer, especially in the eastern Mediterranean countries, as the closure and the changing economic situation and other factors made life more difficult, and people paid great attention to dealing with the virus physically, without some attention to the psychological problem.

What we saw with the Corona virus, prompts the need to adopt clear strategies to prevent suicide and pay attention to mental health. Eastern Mediterranean countries should use their resources for this, not just money, but human resources.

How can human resources be used to confront suicide?

By training various bodies to understand mental health, those bodies are doctors and nurses in hospitals, passing through police, firefighters and others who deal with the public in their jobs, these people will be able to educate citizens, direct them to specialists, and thus reduce suicide.

The World Health Organization has also developed materials available on its website, aimed at families of suicide victims, as they are among the groups that most need support and attention.

Do you have accurate rates of suicide in the Arab countries?

No. We are facing difficulties in monitoring suicides. Many Arab and Eastern Mediterranean countries do not have official records of suicide bombers, just as many families do not report a suicide accident. Unfortunately, mental illness or suicide is still something that stigmatizes the owner and the family, and some may consider it a “shame” that haunts them.

The information will help us to know the roots of the crisis, for example monitoring a common suicide method in a country that enables us to control it, if we know that a certain area is where people jump every period from a bridge, we must monitor the place, or find solutions to prevent access to the roofs of tall buildings.

We also observed that hanging and firearms are two common methods of suicide in middle and low-income countries, and we also know that 20% of the means of suicide used in those countries depend on self-poisoning with pesticides, which are widespread in rural and agricultural areas, so when suicides increased in India with the use of toxaphene ( Insecticide for cotton plants), the product specifications have been modified so as not to lead to death, and the packaging and the method of opening have been modified to become complicated.

How to break the shyness of mental illness and seek help?

Everyone has a role, there are the competent authorities, as we said earlier. Then comes the role of the media, which is the largest, as with the death of a celebrity, we sometimes find news of disturbing details about his suicide, as well as publishing suicide videos or pictures from the incident does not help, but rather the opposite.

The media also has an important role to play, so suicide must be talked about as a reprehensible and not as an option or a solution. Dealing without caution with suicide may make things worse. Also, dealing with psychotherapy as a disease like organic diseases makes accepting the problem easier.

Finally, some media outlets treat people who have ended their lives as mental patients a mistake, as only 60% of those who commit suicide suffer from mental disorders. The media should also talk about suicide more openly and hold constructive discussions.

Are there Arab countries that have implemented clear programs to reduce or prevent suicide?

We have Tunisia in the Arab region, as it has implemented a government program to combat suicide and develop mental health strategies, and there is also a national program for suicide prevention in Iran.

Speaking of low- and middle-income countries, to what extent might economic conditions push people to commit suicide?

Economic pressures are an important factor that may lead to suicide, but it does not come alone. Poverty, lack of opportunities, lack of education and natural disasters are all things that drive suicide, and in Arab countries for example, wars and asylum are one of the most important causes of psychological crises, so it can be said that the painful situations that people experience are all factors. Influential, this makes the groups vulnerable to suicide numerous.


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