Suicide rate at all-time high following COVID-19 outbreak

Published On: September 11, 2021 12:01 PM NPT By: Republica

KATHMANDU, Sept 11: The number of people commiting suicide inside the country follwing the COVID-19 pandemic has increased, according to a government study. As many as 7,117 people committed suicide in the fiscal year 2020/2021. The number was 6,241 in 2019/2020 and 5,754 in 2018/2019. 

According to mental health experts, more people succumbed to suicides than to COVID-19 in the last fiscal year. Young males and females, adolescents and youths who travel abroad for foreign employment are most likely to fall victims to suicide, Dr Basudev Karki, director of Patan Mental Hospital, said. 

As informed by mental health experts, the rate of suicide increased in people who were insecured or had other health problems during the pandemic. People with depression and mental health problems started commiting suicide after the surge of the pandemic. This is also a reason for an increase in the suicide rate in the current fiscal year. 

According to a mental health survey conducted in 2002, 10 percent of adults think of suicide at some point in their lifetime while 3.9 percent adolescents have attempted it once. According to a survey of 2019, 6.5 percent of adults reported the thought of committing suicide. In 2020, as many as 19 people committed suicide on a daily basis. 

In addition, suicide is the first reason behind the deaths of women between the age of 15 to 45. A suicide is reported every 40 seconds somewhere in the world. As many as 135 people are affected by one suicide. 

How to prevent suicide

The authorities concerned have found that relatives or neighbors can help in stopping suicides. Speaking at a World Suicide Prevention Day program held on Friday in the capital, experts said that suicides can be prevented with the help of relatives and members of society. As much as 90 percent of the people who commit or attempt suicide are found affected by mental problems. Of them 80 percent have trouble with depression and are found to be heavy drinkers. Such people make plans for their suicidie for a few days. 

People with suicidal tendencies tend to talk about death during normal conversations, surround themselves with helpless feelings, express happiness and sadness immediately, have a tendency to harm themselves, meet family members and relatives for the last time, write down their last wishes and misuse drugs, inorder to carry out their suicide plan. 

People with the above tendencies should be listened to by their close ones with patience. Contact the suicide prevention hotline immediately. Admit them to a hospital, treat any mental problem and motivate people having suicidal tendencies. 

The World Health Organization has provided a 24 hours suicide prevention hotline (1166) for anyone who wants to talk about their problems, are trying to hurt themselves and are feeling depressed. 

Similarly, materials which could ease in attempting suicide like ropes and poison should be kept away from people with suicidal tendencies. Media houses are also urged not to publicize suicides, Dr Saroj Ojha of Teaching Hospital's mental health department said. He is of the opinion that only individuals, society and doctors can help to prevent suicides inside the country. 


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