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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Pandemic increasing risk factors for suicide, WHO warns

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Suicide prevention must be prioritised after 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American office of the World Health Organisation warned.

Studies show that the global crisis has exacerbated risk factors associated with suicidal behaviours, such as job loss, trauma or abuse, mental health disorders and barriers to accessing health care.

“Suicide is an urgent public health problem and its prevention must be a national priority,” said Renato Oliveira e Souza, head of the Mental Health Unit at the Pan American Health Organisation.

“We need concrete action from all elements of society to put an end to these deaths, and for governments to create and invest in a comprehensive national strategy to improve suicide prevention and care,” he added.

Globally, one in 100 deaths is by suicide, making it among the leading causes of death worldwide and the fourth leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds, after road traffic accidents, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence.

More people die each year from suicide than from HIV, malaria, or breast cancer, or from war and homicide, according to WHO.

Some of the verbal or behavioural warning signs for suicide include talking about wanting to die, feeling immense guilt or shame, or feeling like a burden to others.

(Call 1926; 24/7 help line initiated by the National Institute of Mental Health, Angoda, if you need any assistance)

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