WHO: One Dies By Suicide Every 40 Seconds

There are 38 countries with national suicide prevention strategies.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — One person kills themselves every 40 seconds, the World Health Organization (WHO) said ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day today.

WHO noted that the total number of countries with national suicide prevention strategies has increased in the past five years to 38, but it is still far too few and governments need to work harder in establishing them.

“Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement yesterday.

“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.”

According to WHO’s “Suicide in the World: Global Health Estimates” 2019 report, Malaysia’s age-standardised suicide rate for all ages in 2016 was 6.2 per 100,000 for both sexes. The rates were 8.7 per 100,000 and 3.6 per 100,000 for males and females respectively in Malaysia that year. But WHO cautioned that Malaysia’s data had quality issues that rendered the death registration information unavailable or unusable.

The global age-standardised suicide rate for 2016 was 10.5 per 100,000. But between nations, the rates ranged from five suicide deaths per 100,000, to more than 30 per 100,000.

Nearly three times as many men as women die by suicide in high-income countries; but in low- and middle-income countries, the rate is more equal.

Furthermore, suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 29 years, after road injury. Among teenagers aged 15 to 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 are hanging, pesticide self-poisoning, and firearms.

WHO also said that pesticide regulation is an under-used but effective way to curb these suicide deaths, and that there is now a growing body of international evidence indicating that regulations to prohibit the use of highly hazardous pesticides can lead to reductions in national suicide rates.

The global health organisation also suggested better surveillance to allow more effective suicide prevention strategies and more accurate reporting of progress towards global goals.

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