One in every 100 deaths in the world in 2019 was by suicide

According to a new study by the UN health agency, the male suicide rate is double that of the female one and represents the fourth cause of death among young people between 15 and 29 years old after injuries from traffic accidents, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence. The agency criticizes the lack of national prevention strategies and publishes a new series of guidelines to prevent it.

One in every one hundred deaths that occurred during 2019 – or 700,000 in exact figures – was due to suicide, one of the main causes of death in the world, according to the authors of a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) that has been presented publicly.

This high number of deaths, linked to the fact that each year more people lose their lives to suicide than to HIV, malaria, breast cancer, or even wars and homicides, has led the WHO to prepare a new series of guidelines to help countries to improve suicide prevention.

In the opinion of the WHO Director-General, addressing the causes of suicide is a situation that cannot be put off.

“Each one is a tragedy. Paying attention to suicide is even more important now, after many months immersed in the COVID-19 pandemic and when many of the risk factors for suicide – job loss, financial hardship and social isolation – are still very much present. The new guidance that WHO is publishing now offers a clear path to further suicide prevention efforts, ”said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, according to the latest WHO estimates. (Photo: Unsplash / Dmitry Schemelev)

More men commit suicide than women

A more detailed analysis of the phenomenon indicates that the male suicide rate doubles that of the female with 12.6 per 100,000 men compared to 5.4 per 100,000 women, and that it represents the fourth reason for deaths among young people aged 15 to 29 years after the injuries from traffic accidents, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence.

By region, the highest rates in 2019 were registered in Africa -11.2 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants-, Europe -10.5 per 100,000- and Southeast Asia -10.2 per 100,000-, which were above the world average established at 9 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The lowest figure was in the Eastern Mediterranean with 6.4 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Male suicide rates are generally higher in high-income countries (16.5 per 100,000).

Although suicide rates worldwide decreased by 36% between 2000 and 2019, ranging from 17% in the Eastern Mediterranean to 49% in the Western Pacific, they increased by 17% in the Americas.

WHO warns that more national strategies for suicide prevention are lacking

The WHO emphasizes that, although some countries have placed suicide prevention in a prominent place in their programs, currently only 38 nations have a national suicide prevention strategy and that it is necessary to promote this type of action in order to meet the goal of the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce the global suicide rate by one third by 2030.

The four axes on which the guidelines published by the UN health agency revolve are:

-Limit access to means of suicide, such as very dangerous pesticides and firearms

-Train the media to responsibly disseminate news about suicides.

-To promote social-emotional competencies for life among adolescents.

-Early detect, evaluate, manage and monitor people with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

(Source: UN News)

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