10 September 2012

Cameroon: World Suicide Rate Increases by 60 Per cent

The 10th World Suicide Prevention Day was commemorated yesterday, Monday September 10, 2012. A report by the World Health Organisation, WHO, released prior to the commemoration reveals that one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds while one million die every year in the world.

According to a WHO official, Dr. Shekhar Saxena, who presented the report, suicide rate has increased by 60 per cent in some countries in the last 10 years. The report notes that suicide is the thirteenth leading cause of death the world over. Suicide deaths are most common amongst teens and adults below the age of 35. Males are three to four times more likely to kill themselves than females the world over.

There are an estimated 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year worldwide. According to the report, suicide affects everybody, irrespective of class. Levels of suicide are higher among retired people, divorcees, the unemployed, childless, city dwellers and people living alone.

Paradoxically, suicide is far greater in some high-standard-of-living countries than in poor countries. Scandinavian countries record the highest rates of suicide in Europe. In Italy, the number of suicide cases recorded among the unemployed increased by 30 per cent in 2010. In France, 11,000 suicide cases are recorded every year with one third coming from persons aged above 65 years. In Africa, WHO officials faced challenges assembling statistics because suicide is a considered a taboo and ill-omen in most cultures. Nevertheless, suicide cases are recorded in all communities. In Cameroon, it is not uncommon today to find reports of suicide cases in the press every week.

World Suicide Prevention Day promotes worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. The International Association for Suicide Prevention, WHO and other partners advocate the prevention of suicidal behaviour.

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