Suicide in Nepal: a modified psychological autopsy investigation from randomly selected police cases between 2013 and 2015
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Depression; Low-income; Nepal; Psychological autopsy; Suicide
© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany. Purpose: Yearly, 600,000 people complete suicide in low- and middle-income countries, accounting for 75% of the world’s burden of suicide mortality. The highest regional rates are in South and East Asia. Nepal has one of the highest suicide rates in the world; however, few investigations exploring patterns surrounding both male and female suicides exist. This study used psychological autopsies to identify common factors, precipitating events, and warning signs in a diverse sample. Methods: Randomly sampled from 302 police case reports over 24 months, psychological autopsies were conducted for 39 completed suicide cases in one urban and one rural region of Nepal. Results: In the total police sample (n = 302), 57.0% of deaths were male. Over 40% of deaths were 25 years or younger, including 65% of rural and 50.8% of female suicide deaths. We estimate the crude urban and rural suicide rates to be 16.1 and 22.8 per 100,000, respectively. Within our psychological autopsy sample, 38.5% met criteria for depression and only 23.1% informants believed that the deceased had thoughts of self-harm or suicide before death. Important warning signs include recent geographic migration, alcohol abuse, and family history of suicide. Conclusions: Suicide prevention strategies in Nepal should account for the lack of awareness about suicide risk among family members and early age of suicide completion, especially in rural and female populations. Given the low rates of ideation disclosure to friends and family, educating the general public about other signs of suicide may help prevention efforts in Nepal.
Hagaman, A., Khadka, S., Lohani, S., & Kohrt, B. (2017). Suicide in Nepal: a modified psychological autopsy investigation from randomly selected police cases between 2013 and 2015. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 52 (12). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00127-017-1433-6