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WHO raises alarm over rising rate of suicide

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.Describes act as serious threat to public health

 

 

By AKOR SYLVESTER-Abuja

 

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised alarm over the rising rate of suicide, saying such act constitutes serious threat to public health across the world.

 

It said, globally, over 700,000 people commit suicide annually with 77% of all global suicides occurring in low-and-middle-income countries.

 

Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, Country Representative, the World Health Organization (WHO) in a release, said this in commemoration of the 2022 World Suicide Prevention Day.

 

Mulombo commended the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, stakeholders for their commitment towards suicide prevention in Nigeria.

 

He lauded health experts for their efforts towards suicide prevention in the country.

 

The WHO boss called on individuals to play a role in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide whether as a member of society, saying, “We can all create hope through action and be the light”.

 

He assured that, together, by raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide, and encouraging well-informed action, “we can reduce instances of suicide in our country and inadvertently around the world”.

 

He noted that every year, the World Suicide Prevention Day is commemorated on September 10.

 

Mulombo who emphasised on the

need to increase awareness that suicide is preventable, insists

that suicide continues to remain a serious public health concern with a profound impact on all.

 

This year’s theme is With the theme: “Creating hope through action”, the organisers said it intends to serve as a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide.

 

Besides “the theme aspires to inspire confidence and light in all of us, aims to empower individuals to be in charge of their lives and value the one life they have.

 

Creating hope through action 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”, said the WHO chief.

 

He added, “For every suicide, there are likely 20 other people making a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.

 

“Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds. “Every case of suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire country and it has long-lasting effects on the people left behind.

 

“Suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions.

 

“For national responses to be effective, a comprehensive multisectoral suicide prevention strategy is needed.

 

“In 2013, the World Health Assembly adopted the Mental Health Action Plan 2013 – 2020 and identified suicide prevention as an important priority for achieving the global target of reducing the rate of suicide in countries by 10% by 2020.

 

“Nigeria has shown commitment to this target by first of all establishing the new National Mental Health Programme in the Federal Ministry of Health to provide strategic leadership on mental health activities and also worked closely with the National Assembly to develop a new mental health bill which aligns with international standards.

 

“We are all eagerly awaiting the assent of this bill by H.E. The President of Federal Government of Nigeria.

 

“As WHO we pledge to continue supporting the country to implement priority activities towards mental health including suicide prevention and control. In the coming weeks, we will be supporting the review and update of the 2013 National Mental Health Policy, development of a national framework for suicide prevention and commemoration of the 2022 World Mental Health Day”.

 

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