Suicide prevention (SUPRE)
- Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a "global" mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.
- In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group; these figures do not include suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.
- Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998, and 2.4% in countries with market and former socialist economies in 2020.
- Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.
- Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and North America; however, in Asian countries impulsiveness plays an important role. Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.
- Strategies involving restriction of access to common methods of suicide, such as firearms or toxic substances like pesticides, have proved to be effective in reducing suicide rates; however, there is a need to adopt multi-sectoral approaches involving many levels of intervention and activities.
- There is compelling evidence indicating that adequate prevention and treatment of depression and alcohol and substance abuse can reduce suicide rates, as well as follow-up contact with those who have attempted suicide.
Challenges and obstacles
- Worldwide, the prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to basically a lack of awareness of suicide as a major problem and the taboo in many societies to discuss openly about it. In fact, only a few countries have included prevention of suicide among their priorities.
- Reliability of suicide certification and reporting is an issue in great need of improvement.
- It is clear that suicide prevention requires intervention also from outside the health sector and calls for an innovative, comprehensive multi-sectoral approach, including both health and non-health sectors, e.g. education, labour, police, justice, religion, law, politics, the media.
WHO Initiative on the Impact of Pesticides on Health: Preventing intentional and unintentional deaths from pesticide poisoning
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD)
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2009: Suicide prevention in different cultures, WHO statement
World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2009: WHO podcast
World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2008: Think Globally, Plan Nationally, Act Locally. WHO statement
World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2007: Suicide prevention across the life span, WHO statement
World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2006: With understanding, new hope, Notes for the media
World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2006: With understanding, new hope, WHO Media events calendar
World Suicide Prevention Day, 8 September 2004: Saving lives, restoring hope, Press Release WHO/61
Multisite Intervention Study on Suicidal Behaviours (SUPRE-MISS)
Preventing Suicide: a resource series