" This report, the first WHO publication of its kind, presents a comprehensive overview of suicide, suicide attempts and successful suicide prevention efforts worldwide. We know what works. Now is the time to act, said Shekhar Saxena, director of the department of mental health and substance abuse at the WHO."
Geneva, Sep 4 - More than 800,000 people die by committing suicide every year -- one person in every 40 seconds, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report published Thursday.

According to the Global Report on Suicide Prevention, 75 percent of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries, the WHO said.

This report is a call for action to address a large public health problem which has been shrouded in taboo for far too long, Director General of WHO Margaret Chan said in a statement.

The report pointed out that pesticide poisoning, hanging and firearms were among the most common methods of suicide globally.

Evidence from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the US and a number of European countries reveals that limiting access to these means can help prevent people dying by suicide, it said.

Another key to reduce deaths by suicide is a commitment by national governments to the establishment and implementation of a coordinated plan of action.

Currently, only 28 countries are known to have national suicide prevention strategies, the report added.

Suicide occurs all over the world and can take place at almost any age. Globally, suicide rates are highest in people aged 70 years and over.

In some countries, however, the highest rates are found among the young. Notably, suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year-olds globally, WHO said.

In low- and middle-income countries, young adults and elderly women have higher rates of suicide than their counterparts in high-income countries.

The WHO recommends countries involve a range of government departments in developing a comprehensive coordinated response.

This report, the first WHO publication of its kind, presents a comprehensive overview of suicide, suicide attempts and successful suicide prevention efforts worldwide. We know what works. Now is the time to act, said Shekhar Saxena, director of the department of mental health and substance abuse at the WHO.

The report's launch comes just a week before World Suicide Prevention Day, observed on Sep 10 every year.


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