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
Seventy-five percent of suicide deaths occur in low- and middle-income
countries, the highest number among young people between 15 and 29 years
Proportionally, however, in most regions of the world, suicide rates
are higher in those aged 70 years or older, for both men and women.