Online ISSN: 2451-4950

Author : Arafat, S.M yasir

Association of perceived isolation and resilience with self-rated mental health among undergraduate medical students in Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rakesh Singh; Pragya Rai; Madhusudan Subedi; Babita Singh; Moses Chicco Banda Aron; Chandra Bahadur Sunar; SM Yasir Arafat; Sharika Mahato

DOI: 10.52095/gp.2021.1392.1015

Background:  The COVID-19 pandemic has devastatingly affected the entire world and destroyed the equilibrium of every sphere of life. Like other groups of people, medical students of Nepal have been facing the conditions of lockdown and social isolation that have arisen because of the pandemic.
Objective: We aimed to see the relationship of perceived isolation and resilience with self-rated mental health among undergraduate medical students in Nepal.
Materials and methods: A web-based online survey was carried out in July 2020 using a semi-structured questionnaire in Google form. Data analysis was performed in SPSS vs 20. Ordered logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the effects of perceived isolation, resilience and background characteristics on self-rated mental health.
Results: Out of 515 participants, 44.9% were male.31.4% reported having fair/poor mental health status and 21.9% reported feeling stressed often due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An increment of 1SD in perceived isolation is associated with about a 5% reduction in the odds of having better mental health (exp (−0.048) = 0.95; p=0.026). Similarly, an increment of 1SD in resilience is associated with about 13% lower odds of having better mental health (exp (−0.149) = 0.862 ; p<0.001).
Conclusion: This study is an early step towards the assessment of perceived isolation and mental health among undergraduate medical students amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal. There is a need to conduct regular counselling sessions and strengthen the coping skills of medical students duringthe pandemic.

Artificial intelligence-based models for augmenting media reporting of suicide: challenges and opportunities

Ramdas Ransing; Vikas Menon; Sujita Kumar Kar; S.M. Yasir Arafat

DOI: 10.52095/gp.2021.3037.1017

The sensationalised and harmful content of media reporting of suicide is a modifiable risk factor for suicide and suicidal behaviour. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) has published guidelines for responsible media reporting of suicide to prevent suicide contagion, the uptake of these recommendations across media outlets remains limited due to several barriers such as the motivation of stakeholders, inadequate training of media personnel, and a lack of real-time monitoring by the government. In this report, we suggest that artificial intelligence (AI) based models, can be used to address barriers to guideline adherence and improve the quality of media reporting. It is our understanding that the development and implementation of AI-based models or tools can assist in improving adherence to suicide reporting guidelines. We propose a hybrid model that incorporates steps that can be taken at different levels of the media news communication cycle. The algorithmic approach can help in simultaneously processing large amounts of data while also facilitating the design of article structures and placement of key information recommended by media reporting guidelines. The potential benefits of the AI-based model to the various stakeholders and the challenges in implementation are discussed. Given the positioning of responsible media reporting of suicide as a key population-level suicide prevention strategy, efforts should be made to develop and evaluate AI-based models for improving the quality of media reporting in different national or international settings. 

Suicidal behavior during COVID-19 pandemic in Iraq: An analysis of newspaper reports

Araz Ramazan Ahmad; Ayoob Kareem Saeed; Vikas Menon; Sheikh Shoib; S.M. Yasir Arafat

DOI: 10.52095/gp.2021.3686.1025

Background: Suicide is a major public health issue that has been under-researched in Iraq, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aim: The study aimed to assess the characteristics, methods, and risk factors of suicidal behavior in Iraq during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: We searched the news reports between April and May 2021 on Google using the term “suicide news in Iraq. We included online newspaper reports of suicidal behavior in Iraq that were published from January 2020 to April 2021.
Results: A total of 156 reports was studied. The majority of reports were published in the Arabic language (59%). Among the newspapers, the majority of the reports were published in the Nalia Radio and Television (NRT) and the shafaqnews (11.5% each). The mean age of the suicidal attempts was 27.69 (±13.78) years ranging from 10-65 years. The majority were male (57.7%), married (18%), student (9.6%), and urban habitant (64.74%). Hanging (31.4%), firearms (22.4%), and fall from height were the leading methods of suicide and familial disharmony (12.8%), mental disorder (9.6%), financial constraints (5.1%), marital discord (3.2%), COVID-19 related factors [like being infected, quarantined] (3.2%) were the leading cause of proximally related factors of suicidal attempts.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that of all suicides during the COVID-19 pandemic in Iraq, the majority are that of young, married, employed males. Furthermore, interpersonal and financial stressors are possible risk factors for suicide in this period.

Empirical studies on suicide in Bangladesh in a decade (2011-2020)

S.M. Yasir Arafat; Fahad Hussain; Khandakar Md. Jakaria; Zarin Tasnim Itu; Md. Aminul Islam

GLOBAL PSYCHIATRY, 2021, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 109-122
DOI: 10.52095/gp.2021.10692

Background:  An adequate number of empirical studies is necessary to formulate a national suicide prevention programme.
Aims:  To assess the extent of empirical studies on suicide in a decade (2011-2020) in Bangladesh.
Materials and methods: A literature search was conducted to identify the articles available in PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus, Google Scholar, and BanglaJOL using the search term “suicide in Bangladesh”, “self-harm in Bangladesh”, “poisoning in Bangladesh”, “suicidal behaviour in Bangladesh”. We included all the original articles in full-length format that were published in the English language, accessible in the full texts, published between 2011 and 2020, and assessing suicidal behaviour in Bangladesh. A total of 44 empirical studies were included in this review.
Results: Among the 44 studies, 6.8% were qualitative studies, 34.1% applied interview, 31.8% analysed the secondary data. All the studies followed a cross-sectional design, nine studies assessed youth suicidality, and only one study assessed the suicidality among the elderly. Studies of the earlier half of the decade explored epidemiological aspects, whereas studies in the last five years assessed the newer topics such as quality of media reporting, psychological autopsy study, perspectives after nonfatal attempt, sociological perspectives, ontological perspectives, masculinity, and suicide, and financial loss due to suicide. About 41% of the papers had a collaboration with the authors of other countries, and about 18.2% of the papers were externally funded either partially or fully.
Conclusion: Although newer studies are coming out, suicide is an under-studied public health problem as no nationwide, longitudinal and interventional study has been identified during a decade (2011-2020) in Bangladesh. The proper attention of all the stakeholders is warranted to improve the scenario.

Severity of depression, anxiety and stress among the people of Kashmir, India during COVID-19: An observation from tele psychiatric services

Sheikh Shoib; Sheikh Mohd Saleem; Sheikh Mohammed Shaiful Islam; S.M yasir Arafat; Shijo John Joseph

GLOBAL PSYCHIATRY, 2021, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 62-67
DOI: 10.52095/gp.2021.8115

Objective:  The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health and well-being of millions of people across the globe. This study aimed to assess the severity of depression, anxiety and stress level among persons who sought teleconsultation during the lockdown period in Kashmir, India.
Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out from 21 March to 31 May 2020 in Kashmir, India. A call line was set up for people with mental health concerns and participants who signed up for the service were included in the study. The mental health services were provided by a team via teleconsultation. The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) questionnaire was used to assess the severity of distress.
Results: A total of 293 people were interviewed during the teleconsultation service. The mean age was 37.10 (± 10.54) years, the majority had moderate depression, 125 (42.7%), followed by extreme severe depression, 95 (32.4%). The mean depression score on the DASS-21 scale was 13.52 ± 4.13. A total of 276 (94.2%) patients had severe anxiety following lockdown with a mean anxiety score of 14.04 ± 9.23. Also, 96 (32.8%) of people had mild stress with a mean stress score of 12.82 ± 7.32.
Conclusion: The severity of depression, anxiety and stress was high in our study population highlighting the need to provide critical mental health services. Teleconsultations could be an alternative approach to provide such services in areas with public health emergencies and where medical infrastructure is limited.