Situation Analysis of Suicide and Self-Harm in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region

Annette Erlangsen, Murad Khan, Wen Su, Khawlah Alateeq, Fatma Charfi, Trine Madsen, Ping Qin, Britt Reuter Morthorst, Morten Thomsen, Aiysha Malik, Piumee Bandara, Alexandra Fleischmann, Khalid Saeed

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: An estimated 41,000 lives are lost to suicide each year in World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Region Office (WHO EMRO) countries. The objective of this study was to conduct a situation analysis for suicide and self-harm in the WHO EMRO region.

METHODS: Data on suicide were obtained from the WHO Global Health Estimates for the years 2000-2019. Information on risk groups efforts to prevent self-harm and suicide in the EMRO region were retrieved through scientific studies, grey literature, and public websites.

RESULTS: During 2000-2019, the age-standardized suicide rate was 6.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, albeit there are concerns regarding data quality. Self-harm and suicide remain criminal acts in more than half of the countries. Few countries have a national plan for prevention of suicide. Toxic agents, such as pesticides and black henna, are easily available and frequently used for suicide in some areas, as are firearms and self-immolation. Successful prevention measures include means restriction and psychosocial interventions after self-harm.

CONCLUSION: Many WHO EMRO countries remain underserved in terms of mental health care. Decriminalization of suicide and means restriction might be further promoted. Online-based tools for mental health literacy and psychosocial therapy are other options to explore.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of suicide research : official journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
ISSN1381-1118
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2023

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