800,000 people commit suicide annually – WHO

World Health Organization

No fewer than 800,000 people commit suicide every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported on Thursday.

According to the report released by WHO, depression is now also the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people, the majority of them women, young people and the elderly.

WHO, in the report, said that “some 800,000 people kill themselves every year, a significant number of them young adults between the ages of 15 and 29.

“Depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors,” it said.

According to the report, an estimated 4.4 per cent of the global population suffers from depression.

The report by the UN health agency, showed an 18 per cent increase in the number of people living with depression between 2005 and 2015.

“Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life,” the WHO said.

According to the report, which was released ahead of April’s World Health Day, prevalence rates seem to peak in adults at around 60 years of age, but are also seen in teenagers.

When long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition leading, at its worst, to suicide, the report said.

The global health body added that depression could lead to more stress and dysfunction, thereby worsening the affected person’s life situation.

To reduce depression, the UN agency recommended effective school-based programmes and exercise regimes.

Different psychological and psychosocial treatments were also noted in the report.

It recommended that health-care providers may offer behavioural activation, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), or antidepressant medication (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

Among the findings, however, the authors cautioned against using antidepressants to treat children or to quickly offer them to adolescents.

“Some psychological treatment formats for consideration include individual and or group face-to-face psychological treatments delivered by professionals and supervised lay therapists”, the report stated. (NAN)

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