One Person Dies Every 40 Seconds From Suicide: WHO Report
Despite progress in suicide prevention activities in some countries much more is needed to be done to prevent the current rate one person taking his or her life every 40 seconds of a day
World Health Organization in its latest communication as a lead-up to World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 has appreciated that the number of countries with national suicide prevention strategies has increased in the past five years since the publication of its first global report on suicide.
But the total number of countries with strategies, at just 38, was cited to be still far too few and governments need to commit to establishing them.
"Every death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues. Yet suicides are preventable. We call on all countries to incorporate proven suicide prevention strategies into national health and education programmes in a sustainable way." emphasized the WHO chief.
"Suicide is a complex issue, with a multitude of intervening factors, therefore there is no single answer to this problem," said Claudina Cayetano, regional advisor on suicide at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Cayetano explained that prevention strategies include surveillance, restriction of usable means to consummate suicide, guidelines for the media, stigma reduction and public awareness, as well as training of health personnel, educators and Police, among others.
Suicide rate is registered to be the highest in high-income countries; second leading cause of death among young people.
As per WHO sources 79% of the world's suicides occurred in low - and middle-income countries, high-income countries had the highest rate, at 11.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years, after road injury. Among teenagers aged 15-19 years, suicide was the second leading cause of death among girls (after maternal conditions) and the third leading cause of death in boys (after road injury and interpersonal violence).
The most common methods of suicide were identified to be hanging, pesticide self-poisoning, and firearms.
Key interventions that have shown success in reducing suicides are restricting access to means; educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide; implementing programmes among young people to build life skills that enable them to cope with life stresses; and early identification, management and follow-up of people at risk of suicide.
Pesticide regulation: an under-used but highly effective strategy was strongly suggested by the WHO report compilers as the intervention that has the most imminent potential to bring down the number of suicides is restricting access to pesticides that are used for self-poisoning.
Yet, only 80 of the 183 WHO Member States for which estimates were produced in 2016 had good quality vital registration data. Most of the countries without such data were low- and middle-income.