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3,000 suicides a day

13th September 2007

Every 30 seconds, someone somewhere in the world takes their own life in what is a largely preventable public health problem, reports the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2007).

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That adds up to 3,000 deaths by suicide a day around the world. 

In spite of a taboo in many societies against discussing suicide openly, there is a growing awareness of suicide as a major threat to public health.

This year's campaign will focus on prevention of suicide in people of all ages, including the very young and the very old.

"Every 30 seconds, the loss of a person who killed themselves shatters the lives of family and friends," WHO said in a statement on its website.

For every completed suicide, another 20 are attempted, it said, and suicide rates have increased globally by more than 60% over the last five decades, putting it among the top three causes of death worldwide in the 15-34 age group.

However, the majority of suicides are reported in adults and older adults (60 years and olders).

"For family and friends affected by suicide or attempted suicide, the emotional impact may last for many years," the statement said.

WHO called on people worldwide to commit to action ensuring that suicides are prevented, and that people with mental illness receive adequate treatment.

"If governments commit to defining national responses to prevent suicide among all ages, huge progress can be made. If we build networks and alliances to promote common approaches which support governments in planning and implementing their national responses, we will find that suicide is a huge but largely preventable public health problem."

It said community-based care and close follow-ups were needed for those who had already attempted suicide, as well as restricted access to common methods of suicide.

It called for greater moderation in the tone of media reports on suicide.

 

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