Mental health

Suicide data

Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Many more attempt suicide. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally.

Suicide is a global phenomenon; in fact, 78% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015. Suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 17th leading cause of death in 2015. Effective and evidence-based interventions can be implemented at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts.

There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.


World Health Statistics 2017: Monitoring health for the SDGs

World Health Statistics 2017 bring together available data on health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators, including suicide (indicator 3.4.2).

WHO Global Health Estimates

The WHO Global Health Estimates provide a comprehensive and comparable assessment of mortality (including suicide) and loss of health due to diseases and injuries for all regions of the world. The latest WHO assessment of deaths by cause is for the years 2000–2015.

WHO Global Health Estimates in the Global Health Observatory (GHO)

The WHO Global Health Estimates can also be accessed through the Global Health Observatory.

WHO Global Health Estimates for suicide in the mental health GHO

The WHO Global Health Estimates of age-standardized suicide rates for 2015 can be accessed on the mental health GHO theme page and database.

Country reported data

WHO Mortality Database

The WHO Mortality Database is a compilation of mortality data by age, sex and cause of death (including suicide), as reported annually by Member States from their civil registration systems.

WHO Mortality Database Online Tool

A user-friendly application provides number of deaths and age-standardized death rates by country, year, cause (including suicide), sex and age from 1979 onwards.

WHO Mortality Database Cause of Death Query online (CoDQL)

The WHO Mortality Database contains mortality data by country, year, cause of death, age and sex, submitted to the WHO by its Member States on an annual basis from 1950 to date. Because of the amount of information it contains, extracting some data is not a simple task for users without adequate data base management skills. For that reason, CoDQL has been put on-line to allow users to extract the data needed for their purposes in an easy and fast manner.

WHO Mortality Database raw data files

Basic underlying raw data files, together with the necessary instructions, file structures, code reference tables, etc. are provided, not constituting a user-friendly data collection.

Suicide attempt surveillance

Manual for suicide attempt surveillance

Improved surveillance and monitoring of suicide attempts and self-harm is a core element of suicide prevention and needed for all countries. The Practice manual for establishing and maintaining surveillance systems for suicide attempts and self-harm aims to provide a tool for countries to use in setting up a public health surveillance system for suicide attempts and self-harm cases presenting to general hospitals, based on medical records.