Perceptions of Suicide among Pakistanis: Results of an Online Survey

Salahudeen Mirza, Atika Rehman, Jahanzaib Haque, Murad M. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: In Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim country, information on the patterning of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, as well as associated public perceptions and opinions, is limited. We sought to advance knowledge on suicide and self-harm in Pakistan with a large, online survey. Method: Leveraging results from a twelve-item online survey (N = 5,157) circulated by the largest English language newspaper in Pakistan, we assessed personal experiences, opinions, and attitudes toward help-seeking in the context of suicide. We calculated proportions with 95% confidence intervals for endorsed responses and implemented binomial generalized linear models with odds ratios to assess differing response tendencies by age, gender, and urban/rural residence. Results: Personal experiences related to suicide and self-harm as well as encounters in social circles were common. Mental illness tended to be recognized as a high likelihood contributor to suicide death over and above nonviolent interpersonal problems. Most considered suicide a way to escape pain, and few considered suicide to be immoral. Barriers to help-seeking included social deterrents, inaccessibility, and unaffordability. Women and youth emerged as higher risk groups, though the status of rural Pakistanis remained unclear. Conclusion: The survey provides a preliminary basis for considering the unique experiences and perspectives of the public in shaping suicide prevention and intervention efforts in Pakistan.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Global mental health
  • low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • Muslim
  • Pakistan
  • South Asia
  • suicide

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