Preventing suicide: a global imperative
Over 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, many more attempt suicide, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds. In response to these alarming figures, WHO has published its first World Suicide Report and gives a message of hope: suicides are preventable. Effective strategies exist and await their implementation. This includes the restriction of access to the most common means, including pesticides, firearms and certain medications, but also responsible reporting of suicide by the media to avoid sensationalizing it and providing information on where to seek help. As mental disorders and harmful use of alcohol contribute to many suicides around the world, early identification and effective management by health workers are key to ensuring that people receive the care they need. Communities also play a critical role. They can provide social support to vulnerable individuals and engage in follow-up care, fight stigma and support those bereaved by suicide. WHO’s first World Suicide Report calls upon individuals, communities and countries to act now for preventing suicide.