Depression: ‘Leading Cause Of Suicide’

KARACHI- Over 800,000 people die every year by committing suicide; one person every 40 seconds. The global suicide rate is 11.4 per 100,000 population. According to a research, the suicide rate in Pakistan is said to be 2 per 100,000/- year.

It is noted that the official statistics on this subject of dire importance still lacks in our society, and its high time we accept and recognize suicide as a major cause of death.

A seminar based upon ‘Suicide Prevention; A Global Imperative’ was conducted by Karwan-e-Hayat, to mark Suicide Prevention Day.

Dr. Raza-ur-Rehman, Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, DUHS addressed the audience whilst stating that, “In Pakistan, we are still dwelling in that era, where people hide the cause of death in case of suicide and mention it either as a casualty, honour killing, violence, etc.”

In 25 countries (within WHO member states) including Pakistan, suicide is currently still criminalized, and in additional 20 countries, suicide attempters may be punished with jail sentences according to Sharia law, Dr. Raza added.

Prof Dr. Zafar Haider, Consultant Psychiatrist, Karwan-e-Hayat, Former Professor of Psychiatry JPMC/ JSMU, In charge Post graduate Studies, also shared his understanding with regards to the topic, and called Depression as the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide.

50% of individuals in high income countries, who die by committing suicide have major depressive disorder at the time of their death. For every 1 suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt, and approximately 135 people get affected by each suicidal death. This equates to 108 million people bereaved by suicide worldwide, each year.

Suicide is the result of a convergence of risk factors, including but not limited to genetic, psychological, social and cultural risk factors, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged between 15-29. Globally, suicide rates are higher in males than females. Self-harm largely occurs among older adolescents, and globally is the 2nd leading cause of death for older adolescent girls.

Dr. Uroosa Talib, Consultant Psychiatrist, Karwan-e-Hayat, informed every regarding the statistics of 2012, during which 76% of global suicide occurred in low and middle income countries, 39% of which occurred in the South-East Asia Region.

Suicide prevention strategies aim to prevent suicide among targeted high-risk groups, but also at a universal level. Effective suicide prevention strategies need to incorporate public health policy and healthcare strategies, incorporating measures with the strongest evidence of efficacy such as; restriction of access to lethal means, treatment of depression, ensuring chain of care, and school based universal prevention.

Suicide prevention programs face challenges including; insufficient resources and ineffective coordination, limited access to surveillance data on suicide and self-harm, lack of enforced guidelines, followed by independent and systematic evaluation.

This seminar provided forums for discussions and interactive sessions overviewing the causes, prevention and measures to prevent Suicide.

Karwan-e-Hayat has been at the forefront in redefining and introducing innovative practices, through which mental healthcare is being provided to Pakistanis. Their successful model of being a network of paperless hospitals, providing indiscriminate quality mental healthcare and above all, providing 90% free of cost treatment, has set an example for many to follow.

This World Suicide Prevention Day, take a minute to reach out to someone; a complete stranger, close family member or friend; this outreach can transform one’s thought process. The importance of building and living together as a community is very important in bringing about positive changes in others’ lives.

October 4, 2018

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