Pandemic increases risk factors for suicide, UN health agency warns |

Pandemic increases risk factors for suicide, UN health agency warns |

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.  Other signs are feeling empty, hopeless or trapped, or having no reason to live, or feeling extremely sad, anxious, agitated, or full of anger.  Warning signs  Among behavioural changes that can also be warning signs, are researching ways to die, staying away from friends, giving away important items, showing extreme mood swings, eating or sleeping too much or too little, and using drugs or alcohol more often. 

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.  “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. 

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

This year’s theme ‘Creating hope through action’, focuses on the need for collective action to address the issue.  WHO recently published guidance that supports national efforts to help reduce the global suicide rate by one-third by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  World Suicide Prevention Day is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and endorsed by WHO.  

Hope through action  Anyone who detects warning signs of suicide, whether in themselves or in someone they know, should seek help from a health care professional as soon as possible. 

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