MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti) - World Suicide Prevention Day was proposed by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and is marked on September 10 every year.
The goal is to raise public awareness that suicides can be prevented.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first global report on suicide prevention published in September 2014, the number of suicides reached 804,000 in 2012. However, since suicide is a sensitive issue, and even illegal in some countries, it is very likely that it is under-reported, the WHO report says.
In richer countries, three times as many men die of suicide than women do, but in low- and middle-income countries the male-to-female ratio is much lower: 1.5 men per one woman. Globally, suicides account for 50 percent of all violent deaths in men and 71 percent in women.
With regard to age, suicide rates are highest among persons aged 70 years or older for both men and women in almost all regions of the world. In some countries, suicide rates are highest among the young, and globally suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds.
The most common methods of suicide globally are the ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms, but many other methods are used and the choice of method often varies according to population group, the report says.
The WHO states that for every suicide there are more than 20 people who attempt suicide every year. In 2012, the highest suicide rate in the world was registered in Guyana, followed by China and South Korea.
The basic reasons for suicide are poverty, job or financial loss, fear of punishment, mental disorders, family adversity, life stresses, abuse of alcohol and other substances, hopelessness, and chronic pain and illness.
Experts hold that no single factor is sufficient to explain why a person died by suicide: suicidal behavior is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by several interacting factors − personal, social, psychological, cultural, biological and environmental.
Many suicides happen impulsively, and, in such circumstances, easy access to a means of suicide – such as pesticides or firearms – can make the difference as to whether a person lives or dies. Other risk factors for suicide include a breakdown in the ability to deal with acute or chronic life stresses, such as financial problems.
According to the WHO report, cases of gender-based violence and child abuse are strongly associated with suicidal behavior. Suicide rates also vary within countries, with higher rates among those who are minorities or experience discrimination.
Experts say that most people who engage in suicidal behavior are ambivalent about wanting to die. Many suicides have been preceded by warning signs, so it is important to regard these warnings seriously.
Preventing suicides is a priority goal of the WHO’s Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP).
The mhGAP aims at scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders, especially for low- and middle-income countries. The program asserts that with proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication, tens of millions could be treated for depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy, prevented from suicide and encouraged to lead normal lives even where resources are scarce.