On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that nearly 800,000 people commit suicide each year, more than those killed by war and homicide or breast cancer, urging action to avert the tragedies.
In a report, the UN health agency said that the global suicide rate had fallen somewhat between 2010 and 2016, but the number of deaths has remained stable because of a growing global population.
“Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement, insisting that “every death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues.”
The global suicide rate in 2016, the last year for which data was available, stood at 10.5 per 100,000 people.
Overall, the global suicide rate fell by nearly 10 per cent from 2010 to 2016, with the western Pacific showing declines of nearly 20 per cent and Southeast Asia registering a decline of only 4.2 per cent.
The Americas meanwhile was the only region that showed an uptick in suicides, with a six per cent hike over the six-year period.
“We know that in the region of the Americas, access to firearms and guns is an important means of suicide,” Alexandra Fleischmann of WHO’s mental health division, told reporters in Geneva in answer to a question.
“Suicides are preventable,” Tedros said, calling “on all countries to incorporate proven suicide prevention strategies into national health and education programmes in a sustainable way.”