Thailand leads suicide rate in ASEAN

THAILAND is leading the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the most number of suicides, a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.

On Monday, WHO said Thailand ranked 32nd in the annual suicide rate, with a 14.4-suicide ratio for every 100,000 population, or equivalent to 10,000 suicide deaths per year.

This was followed by Singapore, ranking 67th with the ratio of 11.2, and Laos at 84th spot with the ratio of 8.6.

Myanmar, on the other hand, ranked 94 with a ratio of 7.8, while Vietnam was at rank 101 with 7.3. Malaysia was at 123rd spot with 5.5, Cambodia at 127 with a ratio of 5.3, and Indonesia was at 158th with 3.4 rate.

The Philippines, meanwhile, has the least suicide ratio of 3.2, ranking 163, while Brunei was not included in the list.

WHO said that every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide and nearly 800,000 people die due to suicide every year.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus underscored the increasing number of countries with national suicide prevention strategies, but stressed that this was “still far too few” and that governments needed to commit to establishing them.

“Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide,” he said.

“Every death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues. Yet suicides are preventable. We call on all countries to incorporate proven suicide prevention strategies into national health and education programmes in a sustainable way,” he added.

WHO celebrates September 10 of every year as the World Suicide Prevention Day since 2003 to raise public awareness of suicide around the world and what people can do to help prevent it.

WHO said suicide is said to be the second leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 29 years old, after injury.

Also on September 10 the WHO, in collaboration with global partners, launched a “40 seconds of action” campaign, which will culminate on World Mental Health Day on October 10. This year’s theme is suicide prevention.

The “40 seconds of action” campaign gives an opportunity for people to help improve awareness of the significance of suicide as a global public health problem; improve knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide; reduce the stigma associated with suicide; and let people who are struggling know that they are not alone.

The WHO also urged people to share their messages, photos, illustrations and videos that are not of a private nature on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #40seconds and #WorldMentalHealthDay.