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Suicide: A major health problem in Nepal

Turning a blind eye to Nepal's suicide problem could make matters even worse


Nepalnews
2022 Apr 03, 7:07, Kathmandu

The alarming data on suicide rates in the nation, pushes the need to build a national suicide prevention strategy with targeted approaches to vulnerable groups.

 According to World Health Organization (WHO), Nepal, in 2012, ranked 7th in the world for highest suicide rate, with 24.9 suicides per 100000 people.

 Experts link suicidal tendencies to hopelessness. “When a person is in a bad situation and sees no possibility of improvement, the person is likely to be suicidal,” says psychologist Salonika Neupane.

Lack of opportunity, gender-based violence, and mental illness contribute to a person being suicidal. The assessment performed by International Medical Corps in 2016 found 10.0% prevalence of suicidal ideation (15.1% in women and 5.7% in men) in Nepal. The study showed higher suicidal ideation in areas significantly affected by the earthquake of 2015 (Gorkha: 24.5%, Sindupalchowk: 25.1%), than in the capital of Kathmandu (8.3%).

 The public health journal published by the World Health Organization, South East Asia Region, in the year 2017 concludes that people suffering from psychological trauma or abuse, young women of reproductive age, women who are victims of gender-based violence, and those who are bereaved by a suicide are vulnerable to both depression and suicidal behaviors.

Mental health amid coronavirus pandemic. Illustration: Critical Path Learning Center
Mental health amid coronavirus pandemic. Illustration: Critical Path Learning Center

Improving mental health resources in Nepal can be immensely helpful for preventing suicides in the country.

The relation between mental health problems and suicidal behavior is found to be significant, providing an imperative place for diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems in suicide prevention strategy.

According to the Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC), Nepal lacks reliable and nationally representative data on suicide rates. Although, in the case of female suicide rates in the country, the Nepalese Family Health Division's Maternal Mortality and Morbidity study published in the year 2009 reveals that suicide was the leading cause of death for Nepalese women between the ages of 15 and 49.

  “Socioeconomic situations serve as major influencing factors for people committing suicide. In such cases, the improvement of living standards of the person is a must to prevent suicide,” says Neupane.

“Social support and strong coping mechanisms work as an effective preventive measure in many cases,” she adds.


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