◾Suicide is a major Public Health Problem
◾Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year while many more people who attempt suicide every year.
◾A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
◾Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds.
◾79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
◾Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
◾ Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind.
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Attempted of Failed suicide is a non-fatal suicidal behavior causing self-injury with at least some desire to end one’s life that does not result in death. Assisted Suicide is when one individual helps another bring about their own death indirectly via providing either advice or the means to the act. Suicidal Ideation is thought of ending one’s life but not making active efforts to doing so. Murder-Suicide or Homicide suicide is when the individual take his/her life and that of others.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Those experiencing overwhelming life crisis such as;
. Mental disorders such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorder such as borderline personality disorder
. Substance Abuse and Alcoholism
. Psychological, cultural, family or social situations such as victims of Female Genital Mutilation.
. Family History of Mental disorder
. Genetic predisposition
. Mid life crisis, trauma, loss or stress related to ineffective coping patterns.
. Financial challenges, broken relationships, pain or illness
. People experiencing any form of discrimination, conflict, hostility, violation or abuse
. Vulnerable groups, refugees, migrants, prisoners, etc
. Previous suicide attempt
. Traumatic brain Injury
. Socio-economic problems such as unemployment, poverty, homelessness, etc
. Environmental influences such as media.
METHODS OF COMMITTING SUICIDE
The methods of committing suicide varies across countries; but the most prevalent is pesticide use including drug overdosing, hanging and the use of firearm.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SUICIDAL IDEATION
Suicide, taking your own life, is a tragic reaction to stressful life situations — and all the more tragic because suicide can be prevented.People who commit suicide don’t want to die, but to end their pain. Don’t dismiss their talk of suicide as just threats. If you notice any signs that they may be thinking about harming themselves, get help. Whether you're considering suicide or know someone who feels suicidal, learn suicide warning signs and how to reach out for immediate help and professional treatment. You may save a life — your own or someone else's. It may seem like there's no way to solve your problems and that suicide is the only way to end the pain. But you can take steps to stay safe; WARNING SIGNS or suicidal thoughts include;
1. Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as \"I'm going to kill myself,\" \"I wish I were dead\" or \"I wish I hadn't been born\"
2. Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
3. Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
4. Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
5. Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
6. Not paying attention to personal hygiene
7. Increase use and abuse of alcohol and drugs
8. Unreasonable giving away of personal belongings, saying goodbye to love ones as if they won't see again or writing suicide notes.
9. Sleeping too little or too much.
10.Acts recklessly. The person may take dangerous chances, like driving drunk or having risky sex.
11. Often, the person may be depressed, anxious, sad, or angry. They also may be very irritable, moody, or aggressive. But they can suddenly turn calm once they’ve decided to go through with the suicide. Then they may sleep a lot more or a lot less than usual.
PREVENTION AND CONTROL
The 2019 theme for the World Mental Health Day is ''Preventing Suicide''- It is a collective effort to reduce the incidence of suicide through preventive measures as 60% of victims don't seek help.
Prevention focuses on support and access to therapy; prevention modalities includes-
- Treating underlying cause such as mental disorders to reduce risks
- Talking to someone; preferable a mental health expert and never skipping appointment with therapist
- Taking prescribed medications as ordered
- Reduce access to methods such as poisons or weapons.
- Join a support system or network from family, religious groups, social contacts, or community
- Developing groups led by professionally trained individuals for broad-based support for suicide prevention.
- Promoting community-based suicide prevention programs.
- Screening and reducing at-risk behavior through psychological resilience programs that promotes optimism and connectedness.
- Education about suicide, including risk factors, warning signs, stigma related issues and the availability of help through social campaigns.
- Increasing the proficiency of health and welfare services at responding to people in need. e.g., Sponsored training for helping professionals, Increased access to community linkages, employing crisis counseling organizations.
- Reducing domestic violence and substance abuse through legal and empowerment means are long-term strategies.
- Reducing access to convenient means of suicide and methods of self-harm. e.g., toxic substances, poisons, handguns.
- Reducing the quantity of dosages supplied in packages of non-prescription medicines e.g., aspirin.
- School-based competency promoting and skill enhancing programs.
Interventions and usage of ethical surveillance systems targeted at high-risk groups.
- Improving reporting and portrayals of negative behavior, suicidal behavior, mental illness and substance abuse in the entertainment and news media.
- Research on protective factors & development of effective clinical and professional practices.
WHO recognizes suicide as a public health priority. The first WHO World Suicide Report “Preventing suicide: a global imperative”, published in 2014, aims to increase the awareness of the public health significance of suicide and suicide attempts and to make suicide prevention a high priority on the global public health agenda. It also aims to encourage and support countries to develop or strengthen comprehensive suicide prevention strategies in a multisectoral public health approach.
Suicide is one of the priority conditions in the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) launched in 2008, which provides evidence-based technical guidance to scale up service provision and care in countries for mental, neurological and substance use disorders. In the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020, WHO Member States have committed themselves to working towards the global target of reducing the suicide rate in countries by 10% by 2020.
In addition, the suicide mortality rate is an indicator of target 3.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals: by 2030, to reduce by one third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being.