The 10th of September every year is commemorated as the “world suicide prevention day”
The theme for this year is “Working together to prevent suicide” being promoted by the international association of suicide prevention (IASP)
Suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.
Based on socio-economic strata and individual affectation
Although it is a global phenomenon, about 79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths which mean that in every 40 seconds, one person dies of suicide.
Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague.
For each suicide committed, approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected.
This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour.
Suicidal behaviour includes suicide and also encompasses suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.
Who is at risk of suicide?
People with mental disorders such as depression and alcohol use disorders are more likely to commit suicide
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.
Who else can be affected
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.
People who have previously attempted suicide are at a higher risk of committing suicide
Prevention and control of suicide
Suicides are preventable. With a collective effort and care, we can prevent suicide by;
- reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
- following a responsible way of media reporting;
- school-based interventions
- introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol
Other measures are
- 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 the provision of community support.
Suicide is a complex issue and therefore suicide prevention efforts require coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of society, including the health sector and other sectors such as education, labour, agriculture, business, justice, law, defence, politics, and the media.
These efforts must be comprehensive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact on an issue as complex as suicide.
Source : IASP, WHO