World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2019
Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide.
According to the World Health Organisation:
- Close to 800 000 people die by suicide every year. Furthermore, for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts. 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.
- Men are 3 times more likely to take their own lives compared to women.
Many suicides take place on an impulse action during moments of crisis and the inability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness. Violence, abuse, experiencing conflict, disaster, loss and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behaviour.
Stigma, particularly surrounding mental disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and are therefore not getting the help they need. 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.
The strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.
The first WHO World Suicide Report “Preventing suicide: a global imperative”, published in 2014, highlighted the need to increase the awareness of the public health significance of suicide and suicide attempts and to make suicide prevention a high priority on the global public health agenda.
Suicides and suicide attempts have a ripple effect that impacts on families, friends, colleagues, communities and societies. Suicides are preventable. Much can be done to prevent suicide at individual, community and national levels. Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important for countries to make progress in preventing suicide.
WHO recognises suicide as a public health priority and calls out for everyone to join in on 10th October, in “40 seconds of action” to raise awareness of suicide and how each of us can help prevent it.
Read more about mental well-being here or see the following downloads: