Vietnamese men commit suicide at almost triple the rate of women, according to a World Health Organization report released Thursday.
“This report is a call for action to address a large public health problem which has been shrouded in taboo for far too long,” said WHO general director Margaret Chan.
Overall, however, suicides in Vietnam fell by more than 12 percent during the 2000-2012 period, according to the report released ahead of the World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10).
According to the first WHO report on suicide prevention, Vietnam recorded roughly 3,431 male and 1,169 female suicides in 2012.
The number of Vietnamese women committing suicide fell by 20 percent over 2000-2012. The reduction rate was 12 percent among men.
More suicides occur in South-East Asia than anywhere else in the world and India accounted for the highest estimated number of suicides overall in 2012.
Suicide by intentional poisoning was among the most common methods of suicide globally and is of particular concern in rural agricultural areas in the South-East Asia Region.
On global scale, more than 800,000 people die by suicide every year--or around one person every 40 seconds. Some 75 percent of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Pesticide poisoning, hanging and self-inflicted gunshot wounds are among the most common methods of suicide globally and evidence from a number of Western countries reveals that limiting access to these means can help prevent deaths by suicide.
Currently, only 28 countries are known to have national suicide prevention strategies, another key to reducing deaths by suicide.
Other preventive measures include responsible reporting of suicide in the media, such as avoiding language that sensationalizes suicide and avoids explicit description of methods used, and early identification and management of mental and substance abuse disorders, the report noted.
Through the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, WHO Member States committed themselves to work towards the global target of reducing the suicide rate in countries by ten percent by 2020.
In related news, the An Giang Preventive Health Agency reported six suicides and 300 suicide attempts so far this year in the Mekong Delta Province.
The most common means include pesticides and hanging; 60 percent of the victims are young people.
Major causes include family conflicts as well as difficulties in life, work and love, the agency said.
In a recent case, a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver in An Giang Province committed suicide after his parents refused to give him money to pay his debt to an online game shop.
Nguyen Thanh Kiet, 28, became addicted to online games in high school, said his father Nguyen Van Tong.
“After he failed his high school graduate exam, I bought him a motorbike to make money but he spent every penny he earned on online games,” he said.
Tong said his son committed suicide after asking them more than VND17 million (US$803) to cover his debts to game shop.
The family couldn't afford the sum.