Psychological autopsy studies of suicide in South East Asia
Arafat, S.M.Y., Menon, V., Varadharajan, N., & Kar, S.K.
Psychiatric disorders have been identified as an important risk factor for suicide. However, different psychological autopsy studies have revealed different prevalences at different times and places.
We aimed to see the distribution of psychological autopsy studies and the prevalence of mental disorders among suicides and identify major risk factors in Southeast Asian countries.
We scrutinized psychological autopsy studies published in the World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia (SEA) region countries. We also searched the available bibliographies to identify the studies in the region so that all the possible articles could be included.
Out of the 11 countries, 14 psychological autopsy studies were identified in five SEA countries (Bangladesh , India , Indonesia , Nepal , and Sri Lanka ). Seven studies (50%) used a case-control study design, and eight (57.1%) were carried out in urban settings. The prevalence of psychiatric disorders in case-control studies was from 37% to 88%. Stressful life event was identified as a major risk factor in all the case-control studies.
Psychological autopsy studies have not been conducted in 6 out of 11 countries of the SEA region. The presence of pre-existing psychiatric morbidity and stressful life events were the two most common risk factors noted across settings, even though there is wide heterogeneity in samples, study design, instruments, and study settings.