The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned that the coronavirus pandemic can aggravate risk factors for suicide, which is why it urged people to talk about the issue openly and responsibly, to stay in contact during periods of physical distancing and knowing the warning signs to prevent it.
Recent studies available to the Organization show an increase in distress, anxiety and depression, particularly among healthcare workers.
These symptoms, in addition to violence, alcohol use disorders, substance abuse, and feelings of loss, are important factors that can increase a person’s risk of taking their own life.
According to the Head of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the Organization, Renato Oliveira e Souza, “we still do not know how the increase in depression, domestic violence or substance use will impact suicide rates in the region, but it is It’s important to take a minute to talk about it, support each other in times of pandemic, and know the warning signs of suicide to help prevent it. “
World Suicide Prevention Day has been celebrated every September 10 since 2003.
The anniversary is an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the latest available data, from 2016, in the American continent about 100,000 people commit suicide annually and most of them (36%) are between 25 and 44 years old.
Guyana and Suriname have the highest suicide rates in the region.
As in the rest of the world, the percentage of men who decide to kill themselves is higher than that of women, accounting for about 78% of all suicides.
In high-income countries, the death rate of men is three times higher than that of women, while in low- and middle-income countries the ratio is 1.5 men for every woman.
“In 2020 we are faced with unexpected and problematic circumstances when facing the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact of the new coronavirus has likely had a negative effect on everyone’s mental well-being. And that is why, this year, more than ever, it is crucial that we work together to prevent suicide, ”said Oliveira e Souza.
PAHO warns that most suicides are preceded by verbal or behavioral cues. Among them are talking about the desire to die, feel great guilt or shame, or think a burden to others.