Preventing Suicide
Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 5:04:16 AM

BERNARD DAVY, CARLOS FAYARD, AND PETER LANDLESS

On September 5, 2014—in the presence of ministries-of-health leaders, ambassadors, administrators, and health professionals—the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva issued its first-ever comprehensive report on suicide.1 Its goal was to reduce the rate of suicide by 10 percent by 2020. The presenters’ research and statistics showed that suicide occurs in all regions of the world, and throughout peoples’ life spans. Among young people ages 15-29, suicide is the second-leading cause of death. Yet suicides are preventable through a multisectorial strategy. Such strategy must involve policymakers, health workers, and communities, including our own Seventh-day Adventist churches, hospitals, and clinics.

The Magnitude of a Worldwide Tragedy

Suicides take a high toll. More than 800,000 individuals die from suicide every year, one every 40 seconds. For each adult who dies from suicide there may be more than 20 others who have attempted to do so. Since it’s a sensitive issue and even illegal in some countries, it’s probably underreported.

Seventy-five percent of suicide deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, the highest number among young people between 15 and 29 years of age.

Proportionally, however, in most regions of the world, suicide rates are higher in those aged 70 years or older, for both men and women.

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