(MENAFN- QNA) More than 800,000 people each year worldwide commit suicide, around one person every 40 seconds with many using poisoning, hanging or shooting to end their own lives, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
The report found that suicides take place all over the world and at almost any age. Globally, suicide rates are highest in people aged 70 and over, but in some countries, the highest rates are found among the young.
"This report is a call for action to address a large public health problem which has been shrouded in taboo for far too long" said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.
Generally, more men die by suicide than women. In richer countries, three times as many men die by suicide than women. Men aged 50 years and over are particularly vulnerable.
In low- and middle-income countries, young adults and elderly women have higher rates of suicide than their counterparts in high-income countries. Women over 70 years old are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than women aged 15-29 years.
Reducing access to means of suicide is one way to reduce deaths. Other effective measures include responsible reporting of suicide in the media, such as avoiding language that sensationalizes suicide and avoiding explicit description of methods used, and early identification and management of mental and substance use disorders in communities and by health workers in particular.
Follow-up care by health workers through regular contact, including by phone or home visits, for people who have attempted suicide, together with provision of community support, are essential, because people who have already attempted suicide are at the greatest risk of trying again.
WHO recommends countries involve a range of government departments in developing a comprehensive coordinated response. High-level commitment is needed not just within the health sector, but also within education, employment, social welfare and judicial departments.
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