Today is World Suicide Prevention Day… Key facts
- Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year.
- For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.
- 79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
- Suicide is a serious public health problem; however, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions.
Who is at risk?
While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders), many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness.
In addition, experiencing conflict, disaster, violence, abuse, or loss and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behaviour. Suicide rates are also high amongst vulnerable groups who experience discrimination, such as refugees and migrants; indigenous peoples; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) persons; and prisoners. By far the strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.
Prevention and control
Suicides are preventable. There are a number of measures that can be taken at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. These include:
- Reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
- Reporting by media in a responsible way;
- School-based interventions;
- Introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol;
- Early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress;
- Training of non-specialized health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour;
- Follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support.
You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day – 116 123 or for more information you can visit their website www.samaritans.org
See the below link for information from the WHO on how to support someone who is suicidal: