Suicide rate escalates by 72% in a decade



By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, Sept. 8: The suicide rate has increased by 72 percent in a decade in Nepal from 11 persons a day in the fiscal year 2068/69BS  to 19 persons in the fiscal year 2078/79 BS. As many as 53,298 people committed suicide in the last 10 years.

As per the data provided by the Nepal Police, 6,830 people took their lives in the fiscal year 2078/79 BS while 3,977 harmed themselves to death in the fiscal year 2068/69 BS.

In its press release issued today, the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), said that suicide is a major concern in Nepal and the suicide rate is increasing in the country but it can be prevented with strong efforts. There has been a decrease of 4.35 percent in the suicide rate in the current fiscal year compared to the past year, but this is no good news as 19 persons kill themselves a day.

The rough estimate that a person succeeds in committing suicide after 20-25 failed attempts make it clear that early detection of suicide-oriented signs can lead to its prevention. 

Mental health problems, psychological issues, chronic diseases, the COVID-19 pandemic, earthquakes, migration, urbanization, and social and financial misbalance have been found as causes of suicide in Nepal.

Those who have a history of suicide attempts, substance abuse, or mental health issues, have gone through major emotional turmoil, chronic illness, loneliness, and living in war areas are reported to be at major risks of suicide.

The Nepal Police data showed that a total of 3,977 people committed suicide in the fiscal year 2068/69, 3,974 in the fiscal year 2069/70, 4,504 in the fiscal year 2070/71, 4332 in the fiscal year 2071/72, 4,680 in the fiscal year 2072/73, 5,124 in the year 2073/74, 5,317 in the fiscal year 2074/75, 5,754 in the fiscal year 2075/76, 6,279 in the fiscal year 2076/77, 7,149 in the fiscal year 2077/78 and 6,830 in the fiscal year 2078/79.

As per the National Mental Health Survey, 6.5 percent of the population plans and thinks about committing suicide.

Of the total suicide in Nepal, 83.39 per cent do it by hanging.

Province 1 holds the highest record of suicide, Karnali the least

As per the report of EDCD, Province 1 holds the highest record of suicide which stands at 1,491, followed by Bagmati province (1,442), Lumbini Province (1,305), Madhes Province (1,020), Gandaki Province (698), Sudur Paschim Province (583) and Karnali Province (291) this year.

The report of the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that seven lakh people lose their lives to suicide each year globally and one person commits suicide every 40 seconds globally. 

Males to have committed suicide most

Males have been reported to have committed suicide most, 56 percent of the total, followed by females (33 percent), adolescent girls (7 percent), and adolescent boys (4 percent). On the other hand, suicide is the main cause of death in females of the 15-45 age group.  

Signs of suicide

Feeling of hopelessness, sense of worthlessness, defenseless, sowing extremes of happiness and sadness, self-harming behaviours, searching for methods of suicide, indulging in discussions about death, biding last goodbyes, dividing wealth, using substances in greater amounts, and showing signs of perfection are some of the signs of suicidal tendency.

Steps like early detection and treatment of people at risk of suicide, increasing skills of health manpower regarding mental health, implementing a strict policy regarding buying and selling of medicine, pesticides, and substances, limiting access to means used for committing suicide, emotive media regarding sensitive issues, arranging for treatment of mental health problems at local levels, and reducing taboos of mental health issues through awareness can help in reducing suicide.

The government had a target to reduce the suicide rate from 16.5 percent per 100,000 population to 4.7 per 100,000 population from 2015 to 2030, but currently, the suicide ratio per 100,000 population is 23.4 percent. This shows that there is a need for strong steps and actions to reduce the suicide rate in the country.

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