WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2023

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WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2023

THEME: CREATE HOPE THROUGH ACTION

Globally, there is growing concern on the prevalence of suicide. This remains alarming as more than 700 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds (WHO, 2019).
Seventy-seven percent of global suicides occur in low – and middle-income countries with the Ingestion of pesticides, hanging, and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.

World Suicide Prevention Day is an annual event observed on September 10th to raise awareness about suicide prevention and promote actions that can help prevent suicide. It is a day to remember those who have lost their lives to suicide and to support individuals who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health challenges.

“Mental Health Needs In Cameroon”
Mental health needs during humanitarian crises in Cameroon are a significant concern. The ongoing armed conflicts and intercommunal tensions in the country have led to a range of mental health challenges for the affected population. Here are some key points regarding mental health needs during humanitarian crises in Cameroon:

Psychosocial Mental Health Needs: People affected by the crises in Cameroon have significant psychosocial mental health needs (https://2022.gho.unocha.org/appeals/west-and-central-africa/). The combination of violence, displacement, and loss experienced during humanitarian crises can lead to various mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other trauma-related disorders.

Impact on Health Facilities: The prolonged humanitarian crises in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon have severely affected the functionality of health facilities (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10155952/). According to reports, around 27% of health facilities in these regions are non-functional, further limiting access to mental health services for the affected population.

Increased Demand for Psychological Support: The demand for psychological support and mental health services has increased during the crises. Health-care providers have observed an increased need for psychological support. This highlights the importance of providing adequate mental health care and support services during humanitarian crises.

Capacity Strengthening: There is a need for capacity strengthening of actors involved in mental health care during humanitarian crises in Cameroon (https://www.unicef.org/media/125596/file/Cameroon-Humanitarian-SitRep-June-2022.pdf). This includes training and equipping health-care providers and humanitarian workers to effectively address the mental health needs of the affected population.

Advocacy for Access to Mental Health Care: Organizations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) advocate for refugee access to national mental health care systems (https://www.state.gov/report-to-congress-on-proposed-refugee-admissions-for-fiscal-year-2023/ and https://www.unhcr.org/mental-health-and-psychosocial-support). Proper mental health care empowers refugees to cope with the challenges they face during humanitarian crises.

Long-Term Impact: The mental health needs among individuals affected by the crises in Cameroon tend to be greater due to the prolonged violence and instability (https://www.unhcr.org/mental-health-and-psychosocial-support) and (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X21000717). Addressing these mental health needs is crucial for the long-term well-being and recovery of the affected population.

The provision of mental health support is crucial in humanitarian crises, as it helps individuals cope with the psychological impact of conflict and displacement.

LUKMEF Cameroon, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has been operating in Cameroon since 1999. It is dedicated to promoting peace, nonviolence, social justice, and sustainable development in the country with the mission to empower individuals and communities, particularly those that are marginalized or disadvantaged, to create positive change in their lives and society as a whole througha rights based approached.

LUKMEF Cameroon with extensive local knowledge and expertise in mental health and psychosocial support is an organization that provides mental health support to affected populations in Cameroon. They work in collaboration with other organizations such as UNICEF and UNFPA to address the mental health and psychosocial needs of conflict-affected individuals, particularly in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon.

Generally, there is a need to increase focus on community mental health health services to help bring the services closer to the populations in need within the country.

We therefore call on more action and awareness raising amongst CSOs to create hope in the minds of affected populations.

“CREATE HOPE THROUGH ACTION”

BY

Keuyo Fosso E: (Mental Health Expert, LUKMEF Cameroon; fosso@lukmefcameroon.org)
&

Godwill Bate Bate: (Gender and Development Fellow; Data And Research Lead, LUKMEF Cameroon; bate.godwill@lukmefcameroon.org)

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