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World Suicide Prevention Day 2019: The World Needs a New Strategy to Prevent Suicides

According to a news release by WHO, the number of countries with national suicide prevention strategies has increased in the five years.

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Updated:September 10, 2019, 5:14 PM IST
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World Suicide Prevention Day 2019: The World Needs a New Strategy to Prevent Suicides
Representative Image (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews)
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An awareness day celebrated, on September 10 every year, World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). It is co-sponsored by World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). The WSPD is observed in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003.

Treated as a stigma and taboo, suicides happen every second in the world. Moreover, an estimated one million people per year die by suicide or about one person in 10,000 (1.4% of all deaths), or "a death every 40 seconds or about 3,000 every day". Even after such high numbers, there are only limited organisations that engage in conversations about suicide prevention.

For the year 2019, the theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”

According to a news release by WHO, the number of countries with national suicide prevention strategies has increased in the five years since the publication of WHO’s first global report on suicide. However, the total number of countries with strategies stands at just 38.

“Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding, “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.”

In addition, the suicide rate is the highest in high-income countries; second leading cause of death among young people. Nearly three times as many men as women die by suicide in high-income countries, in contrast to low- and middle-income countries, where the rate is more equal.

As per WHO, the key interventions that have shown success in reducing suicides are restricting access to means; educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide; implementing programmes among young people to build life skills that enable them to cope with life stresses; and early identification, management and follow-up of people at risk of suicide.

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