World Suicide Prevention Day 2017
World Suicide Prevention Day 2017
The theme of the 2017 World Suicide Prevention Day: ‘Take a minute, change a life.’ Suicide is a major public health problem, with far-reaching social, emotional and economic consequences. There are approximately 800 000 suicides a year worldwide, and it is estimated that at least six people are directly affected by each suicide death.
The factors contributing to suicide and its prevention are complex and not fully understood, but there is increasing evidence that the media can play a significant role in either enhancing or weakening suicide prevention efforts. Media reports about suicide may minimize the risk of imitative (copycat) suicide or increase the risk. The media may provide useful educational information about suicide or may spread misinformation about it.
On the one hand, vulnerable individuals are at risk of engaging in imitative behaviours following media reports of suicide, particularly if the coverage is extensive, prominent, sensational, explicitly describes the method of suicide, and condones or repeats widely-held myths about suicide. The risk is particularly pronounced when the person who died by suicide had a high social status and/or can easily be identified with.. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/258814/1/WHO-MSD-MER-17.5-eng.pdf?ua=1
- 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 second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds.
- 78% 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.
Every year close to 800 000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds globally in 2015.
Suicide does not just occur in high-income countries, but is a global phenomenon in all regions of the world. In fact, over 78% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015.
Suicide is a serious public health problem; however, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions. For national responses to be effective, a comprehensive multisectoral suicide prevention strategy is needed.
Who is at risk?
While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established in high-income countries, 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.
Methods of suicide
It is estimated that around 30% of global suicides are due to pesticide self-poisoning, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas in low- and middle-income countries. Other common methods of suicide are hanging and firearms.
Knowledge of the most commonly used suicide methods is important to devise prevention strategies which have shown to be effective, such as restriction of access to means of suicide.
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;
- 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.
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, defense, 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.
- World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September, 2016
- Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives #World_Suicide_Prevention_Day 2015
- “Preventing suicide: a global imperative”- WHO
- Suicide in Nepal
- Perspective: Suicide burden and prevention in Nepal: the need for a national strategy [WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health | April 2017 | 6(1)]
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