The number of suicides in Jamaica increased by nearly a fifth in 2021 compared to the previous year, but the rate is still lower than pre-pandemic levels, in defiance of expectations.
A report showed that for 2021, a total of 50 suicides were reported, a 16.2 per cent increase over the 43 recorded in 2020.
As the coronavirus pandemic unravelled in 2020, concerns were expressed about the negative impact that the crisis was having on the mental health of Jamaicans, with fears that the social isolation and economic fallout could lead to an increase in the number of suicides locally.
Suicide cases were expected to increase not only in Jamaica, but around the world.
However, for Jamaica so far, the numbers have trended downwards when compared to pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, Jamaica reported 58 suicides, down from 60 in 2018.
Head of Community Health and Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, Dr Wendel Abel credited varying factors for this trend.