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WHO Launches Suicide Prevention Initiative in Africa
The The World Health Organization launched the campagin on Monday, October 10, 2022, which is World Mental Health Day.
The World Health Organization launched an anti-suicide campaign in Africa this month.
In a statement, the WHO regional office for the African region stated that the suicide rate in Africa was astronomically high compared to other regions.
"About 11 people per 100,000 die in the African region, which is higher than the global average of nine cases of suicide per 100,000 people," the statement read.
The statement further expounded on the alarming numbers, stressing that an increasing number of Africans were dying by suicide.
"Africa is home to six of the ten countries with the highest suicide rates in the world," it continued. The most common methods used are "hanging, pesticide poisoning and, to a lesser extent, drowning, use of a firearm, plunging into a void or overdosing on drugs".
According to the organization, the situation has escalated in the African region due to limited access to resources and treatments that address the early signs of impending mental suffering and risk factors.
The campaign launched on Monday, October 10, 2022, which is World Mental Health Day. According to WHO Africa, the initiative plans to reach over 10 million people in a bid to address the issue and raise awareness among people. The program also aims to raise awareness to government agencies, so that they can allocate more resources to mental health.
WHO's efforts will also help to empower African healthcare workers with the resources they need to address suicidal ideation in patients, as well as give people the resources that they need to identify their triggers and ask for help as needed. The initiative in part, wants to help tackle the stigma that is associated with mental illness, suicide and the conditions that are related to them.
Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa said that a significant investment needed to be made to tackle the suicide crisis in Africa.
"Suicide is a major public health problem and every death by suicide is a tragedy. Unfortunately, suicide prevention is rarely a priority in national health programs," Moeti said. "A significant investment must be made to tackle Africa's growing burden of chronic diseases and non-infectious conditions such as mental disorders that can contribute to suicide."
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