World association

Suicides in Jordan skyrocketed after Covid, psychiatrist says

Covid-19 has impacted the mental health of many people in Jordan, with suicide deaths continuing to rise

Anxiety and depression are rising in Jordan due to the coronavirus pandemic [Getty]

Covid-related suicide deaths in Jordan are expected to rise despite the end of the pandemic, a psychiatrist said on Monday.

Dr Walid Serhan, Middle East representative to the World Psychiatric Association, said rates of mental disorders had risen sharply during and after the pandemic, according to the Jordan News Agency. Petra reported.

Jordan’s economy has been hit hard by Covid-19 as the kingdom adopted some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in the world.

Speaking at a conference in Amman where mental health during the coronavirus pandemic was discussed, Serhan said there was a significant increase in the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression in Jordan in 2020 when lockdown restrictions have been implemented.

Anxiety and depressive disorders have increased in a year by 26% and 28% respectively, he said, and the number of suicides is expected to continue to rise despite the slow return to normal after the pandemic.

Looking at patients diagnosed with Covid six months after contracting the virus, Serhan said 31% suffered from depression, 46% from increased anxiety and 50% from cognitive imbalances.

He added that 36% of them noticed an increase in fatigue, while 38% had problems sleeping.

Despite the existence of prevention and treatment options, most people with mental disorders do not receive adequate care in Jordan, and many suffer from stigma, discrimination and human rights violations, he said. -he adds.

The psychiatrist pointed out that mental disorders are widespread and not a priority in the Jordanian healthcare system.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown the flaws and weaknesses of the system, he added.

Last month, an organization specializing in mental health and psychosocial support called International Medical Corps (IMC) reported that there were 593 suicide attempts and 143 suicides in 2021 compared to 116 suicides in 2019.

The IMC found that suicide in Jordan had many contributing factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the high unemployment rate, which soared to almost 25%.

Earlier this year, the Jordanian parliament passed a much criticized law criminalizing attempted suicide.