According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide claims approximately 800,000 lives every year and is the third leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds .
Those who commit suicide or have suicidal thoughts tend to be suffering from other mental health disorders (i.e. depression or alcohol abuse disorders), and are usually experiencing a high level of stress, which can be due to experiences of conflict, disaster, violence, discrimination, abuse, or loss .
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing about new added stress on families and individuals, including social isolation, fear of family members catching the illness, and job/ income loss, many countries are reporting an increase in suicidal actions and attempts.
New data shows that suicide ideation is increasing in the U.S., with 1 in 4 people aged 18-24 claiming to have seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days . In the region, Malaysia‘s National Fire and Rescue Department has also reported a higher number of cases of attempted suicide during lockdown restrictions, claiming June has been their busiest month to date. Reasons for suicide attempt have included depression, bipolar disorder, failed relationships, or financial distress .
While Thailand has managed to keep its COVID-19 infection rate quite low, high suicide attempt rates have also been reported in the country due to the economic effects of the pandemic. In the Philippines, Hopeline (a suicide prevention and crisis intervention hotline) has seen a 200% increase in calls since April .
On this World Suicide Prevention Day, take the time to help loved ones in need to seek care. What can you do when you know someone needs help and is contemplating suicide? Follow the steps in the video below: Listen. Watch. Ask.
1. Factsheet – Suicide [Internet]. World Health Organization (WHO). 2019 [cited 17 August 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide
2. Prior R. 1 in 4 young people are reporting suicidal thoughts. Here’s how to help [Internet]. CNN. 2020 [cited 17 August 2020]. Available from: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/14/health/young-people-suicidal-ideation-wellness/index.html
3. Nortajuddin A. Suicide Spikes Amid Pandemic? [Internet]. The ASEAN Post. 2020 [cited 17 August 2020]. Available from: https://theaseanpost.com/article/suicide-spikes-amid-pandemic