Nearly 800,000 people commit suicide every year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this accounts for one person every 40 seconds. Moreover, in every one death, there are over 20 suicide attempts.
According to the report, the most common methods of suicide are hanging, ingestion of pesticides, and firearms.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, has called on countries to adopt suicide prevention measures in their quest for national health care. The report shows that only 38 countries globally have strategies to combat suicide.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among girls between 15 to 19 years after maternal conditions, while road injury and interpersonal violence lead suicide cases among boys of the same age bracket.
Depression and other mental health disorders have been known to lead to a majority of suicide cases. Other reasons include financial problems, relationship break-up, life stresses, and illness. Further, cases of suicide are also high among people in conflict, disaster, and violence-stricken areas as well as vulnerable groups such as the LGBTI community, refugees, and prisoners.
In Kenya, it is estimated at least 311 Kenyans commit suicide every year; 240 men & 77 women, with suicide cases up 58% in the last decade. Cases are high in Central Kenya, with an estimated five people committing suicide every day. Financial challenges and relationship struggles have been quoted as the main reasons for suicide in the area.
Some of the suicide prevention measures recommended by the WHO include reducing access to means of suicide like firearms, pesticides & medications, school-based interventions, early identification and treatment of mental health disorders as well as training of health workers in detecting and managing suicidal behavior.
While member countries have committed to reducing suicide cases by 10% by 2020, stigma and taboo are major obstacles in the fight to prevent suicide, especially in Africa.
79% of suicide cases are among middle- and lower-income regions. To reduce high suicide rates in these areas, countries will need to take up measures including; Raising awareness on mental health challenges, an increase in the number of mental health care professionals, and affordable mental healthcare services.