This year, on Friday, World Suicide Prevention Day was observed throughout the world with a theme ‘creating hope through action’ to raise awareness about the prevention of suicide.
Suicide is the proxy of poor mental health, and it remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. According to the 2019 National Mental Health Survey in Nepal, 6.5 per cent of the adult population was experiencing suicidal thoughts at the time.
In 2020, 19 people committed suicide every day in the country. According to Nepal Police, 7,117 people committed suicide in the fiscal year 2020/21.
Studies show that, on average, every suicide leaves an estimated six or more suicide survivors, who are at an increased risk of thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide, further exacerbating the ripple effect of pain and suffering.
Speaking at a programme here on Friday, Dr. Krishna Prasad Poudel, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, said that the government was implementing the National Mental Health Strategy and Action Plan 2020 and that for this, investment in mental health must be increased.
“The initiation has been taken to build 10-bed mental health ward in 13 big hospitals across the nation within the current fiscal year. This year, Rs. 5 million in each Province has been allocated for Psychotropic Drug Procurement,” he said.
Dr. Basudev Karki, psychiatrist at Patan Mental Hospital, said that the National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1166 has been operated at the hospital. “We request all to seek help through the helpline.”
Talking is the first step to prevent suicide, said another psychiatrist, Dr. Saroj Ojha. Sharing about the suicidal thoughts would help in preventing suicide, he added.
Dr. Roshan Pokharel, secretary at the MoHP, asked all to identify the early signs of suicide. Early detection of suicidal thoughts would help a lot, he added. “We are trying to incorporate mental health and suicide prevention strategy in the action plan,” said Dr. Pokharel.
On the occasion, experts called for the implementation of the various plans and strategies to inspire hope and prevent suicide.
“I want to call for the increased allocation of resources to implement the National Mental Health Strategy and Action Plan 2020 and develop and implement a comprehensive suicide prevention program for Nepal,” said Dr. Rajesh Sambhajirao Pandav, WHO Representative to Nepal.
The deaths by suicide outnumber than that from HIV, malaria, breast cancer, or war and homicide. If we fail to arrest and reverse the rising trend of suicides, Nepal will not achieve SDGs and World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Global Mental Health Action Plan, added Pandav.
Source : TRN,