Specialists from South-East Asia countries meet in Dhaka to enhance country capacity for suicide prevention

WHO Bangladesh

Dhaka, 11 September 2019 - Specialists from the South-East Asia Region are gathering in Dhaka from 11 to 12 September to discuss and identify ways for enhancing the region’s capacity to prevent suicide.

Globally, nearly 800 000 lives are lost every year due to suicide, this being the second leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 29 years old. Though this is a global phenomenon, 79 percent of suicides worldwide occur in low- and middle-income countries, where the resources for early identification, treatment and support are scarce.

“Evidence shows that one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide and for each adult who dies of suicide there are more than 20 others attempting suicides. These alarming facts and the lack of timely interventions make suicide a serious public health problem that needs urgent attention,” said Dr Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative to Bangladesh, on behalf of Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of the WHO South-East Asia Region, at the workshop’s opening.

In Bangladesh, the latest statistics from 2016 indicate a rate of 6.1 suicides per 100 000 people.

To strengthen suicide prevention action, this multisectoral regional workshop in Dhaka aims to update national mental health programme managers, healthcare workers and representatives from education and social sectors, on the current situation, available tools and guidelines on suicide prevention, and to discuss the adaptation of the regional strategy on preventing suicide to country context.

WHO Bangladesh

Furthermore, as suicide is a very complex issue, the participants of the workshop will seek to promote development, implementation and evaluation of prevention strategies through coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of society, including health, education, labour, agriculture, business, justice, law, defense, and media.

Reducing the suicide rate is a target of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 and an indicator for Sustainable Development Goal 3. In this regard, the regional meeting will also be an opportunity to define the challenges that countries face in meeting their goals for suicide prevention and to identify solutions to overcome them.

WHO remains committed to supporting member states to strengthen suicide prevention and to enhance mental health and wellbeing of all.

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