Increased employment, access to healthcare services could reduce suicide rate- PAHO study


Since 2000 the suicide mortality rate has been increasing in the Americas, a recent study by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has found.

It highlighted that increasing employment programmes and services and access to healthcare services, such as treatment for substance abuse, could potentially reduce the numbers.

The new study, which was published on Thursday in the Lancet Regional Health- Americas, highlights the importance of considering gender-specific social determinants of suicide when developing risk reduction interventions and prevention strategies.

“Overall, our results indicate that multi-sectoral measures targeting health and social well-being in society, which are informed and developed using evidence on local contextual factors, should be emphasised in suicide prevention initiatives,” the analysis said.

READ THE REPORT: Contextual factors associated with country-level suicide mortality in the Americas, 2000–2019: a cross-sectional ecological study

Despite efforts to reduce the issue globally, the study found that the Americas is the only region in the world where suicide mortality has been increasing since 2000.

Graphs showing the suicide mortality rates between men and women between the years 2000 and 2019 (Graphs taken from study published on Thursday)

While 79 percent of the suicides occurred amongst men, the study also found that cases involving women have also increased significantly.

The study highlighted that homicide and the use of alcohol and other substances have been identified as contributing factors to the growing suicide mortality rate among men.

On the other hand, it said educational inequality was the main factor for women.

“Enhancing social connections in rural and under-populated areas is also a recommended suicide prevention strategy,” the study found.

As such, it said that prevention efforts must not only target vulnerable populations, but should also focus on the contextual factors contributing to the suicide mortality.

Although increasing the population density of a country is not a “realistic” public health strategy for reducing the suicide mortality rate, it was found that improving social connectedness and civic opportunities were identified as options which can be explored as suicide prevention strategies.

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