Manila: The suicide rate has been going up for the past 21 years, among the young and adults, most of them killing themselves by strangulation, in the morning during summer and during the Lenten Season, in Apri, a local paper said.

The suicide rate from 1984 to 2005 went up from 0.46 to seven out of every 200,000 men; up from 0.24 to two for every 200,000 women, the National Statistics Office told the Inquirer.

“There is an increasing trend of suicide among the youth, particularly in the age group 5 to 14 and 15 to 24,” Dr Dinah Nadera. Psychologist of the University of the Philippines’ Open University also told the Inquirer.

Suicides occurred between 8.01am and noon on weekdays, when other people were not around in their homes, Nadera said, adding that the least suicide cases occurred between 12.01am and 4am, said Nadera, adding that the time and month of occurrence of suicide was based on studies made on 300 cases from hospitals and the police in 2008 and 2009.

Cases showed that many of them decided to kill themselves by hanging, strangulation, suffocation, poisoning [mainly ingestion of silver cleaner], and exposure to chemicals and noxious substances, said Nadera, adding that causes of suicide were depression, low income, unemployment, medical conditions such as heart diseases and cancer, and separation from spouses.

More married women than single women committed suicide, said Nadera.

However, suicide rates in the Philippines still remain insignificant compared with records in other countries, Nadera said.

Suicide should be seen as a public health issue and not a mere police case, said Dr Wang Xiangdong, WHO regional adviser in mental health and injury prevention.