CAIRO – 12 September 2018: Suicide attempts in Egypt will reach the global danger belt due to psychological and economic pressures, said psychiatry professor, Mohamed al-Mahdi, in an interview on DMC channel Tuesday.
Mahdi stressed that Egypt needs to activate a hotline to support suicidal individuals like many developed countries, these hotlines receive complaints in case of suicide attempts and work to solve suicidal people's problems.
Consultant psychiatrist Jamal Farwis said that several private bodies established hotlines to support suicidal individuals but the lines were deactivated due to false complaints. The hotline is not important in the absence of culture and awareness, Farwis explained.
Psychiatry professor Heba al-Issawi told Al-Watan newspaper that mental health secretaries of the Ministry of Health should activate the ministry's hotline and increase the number of psychiatrists.
Issawi added that the hotline should be linked to outpatient clinics and programs to solve people's problems.
In 2003, BFriends International established a hotline in Egypt to provide psychosocial support for people who need it but it was closed after the bankruptcy of the institution in Cairo due to lack of donations.
In September 9, an employee attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself under the wheels of the metro in Gamal Abdel Nasser station which delayed movement for 15 minutes and resulted in the amputation of the employee's foot. He was then transported to the Red Cross hospital.
July witnessed several suicide incidents; a 17-year-old threw himself in front of a train in Old Marg station, leading to his immediate death. Also in the same month, a 20-year-old committed suicide at Mary Gerges station.
Egypt's Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics said more than half a million citizens tried to commit suicide in 2015.
According to the World Health Organization close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, that is one person every 40 seconds, and many more attempt suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people starting at 13 years old until 29 years olds globally.
Some 78 percent of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015. Suicide accounted for 1.4 percent of all deaths worldwide, making it the 17 leading cause of death in 2015. Effective and evidence-based interventions can be implemented at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts.
There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.