David Arin, Jos –
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on the occasion of the 2022 World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), has said an estimated 703,000 people commit suicide yearly.
The global health institution said every 45 seconds someone dies of suicide around the world.
The global health body explained Saturday on its official website that for each suicide, approximately 135 people suffer intense grief, “resulting in 108 million people, annually, who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviours.”
It added that for every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.
According to WHO, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-19 year-olds, with over 77 per cent of global cases recorded in low- and middle-income countries in 2019.
The WHO noted that in 2019, more than 700,000 people died by suicide: one in every 100 deaths, with rates varying between countries, regions, and between males and females.
It explained that more than twice as many males die from suicide as females (12.6 per 100,000 males compared with 5.4 per 100 000 females).
While suicide rates among men are generally higher in high-income countries (16.5 per 100,000), WHO stated that females account for the highest suicide rates in lower-middle-income countries (7.1 per 100,000).
It further noted that suicide rates in the WHO African (11.2 per 100,000), European (10.5 per 100,000) and South-East Asia (10.2 per 100,000) regions were higher than the global average (9.0 per 100 000) in 2019, while the lowest suicide rate was in the Eastern Mediterranean region (6.4 per 100,000).
In 2021, the WHO noted that many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-ups or chronic pain and illness.
It further stated that experiencing conflict, disaster, violence, abuse, loss, and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behaviour.
“Suicide rates are also high amongst vulnerable groups who experience discrimination, such as refugees and migrants; indigenous peoples; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) persons; and prisoners,” WHO added.
On the method of suicides, WHO said that around 20 per cent of global suicides are due to pesticide self-poisoning, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas in low- and middle-income countries. Other common methods of suicide are hanging and firearms.
The WSPD marked every 10 September was established in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention in conjunction with WHO.
WSPD focuses attention on the issue, reduces stigma and raises awareness among organizations, government, and the public, giving a singular message that suicide can be prevented.
In its statement to mark the annual celebration, WHO called for global action to prevent suicide, noting that “creating hope through action” is the triennial theme for WSPD from 2021 – 2023 “to serve as a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us.”
The statement read: “By creating hope through action, we can signal to people experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them. It also suggests that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.
“Lastly, it highlights the importance of setting suicide prevention as a priority public health agenda by countries, particularly where access to mental health services and availability of evidence-based interventions are already low. Building on this theme and spreading this message over the three years, a world can be envisioned where suicides are not so prevalent.
“We can all play a role in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide whether as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a person with lived experience.”