According to a new report that has just been released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), suicide claims the life of one person every 40 seconds worldwide.
This equates to a shocking 800,000 people every year and makes it the second leading cause of death in young people aged 15 to 29. The 10 years of research that the organisation conducted also revealed that those aged over 70 were more likely to take their own lives and that three-quarters of people who commit suicide are from low and middle income countries. However, in richer countries, three times as many men die by suicide than women.
Describing the situation as a ‘major health problem’, the WHO is aiming to reduce the rate of suicide by 10% by 2020 despite concerns that only 28 countries around the world have a national suicide prevention strategy.
Campaigners are calling for more education in schools to try and remove the social stigma attached to mental disorders because it’s this attitude that stops people from seeking help which ultimately leads to suicide.
The Director General of the WHO, Dr Margaret Chan commented:
“This report is a call for action to address a large public health problem which has been shrouded in taboo for far too long.”
Jonny Benjamin, a suicide campaigner in the UK agrees with Dr Chan and concluded:
“I think there needs to be much more public awareness around suicide and how to approach people that may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings. Too few of us know how to react when they see someone who may be at risk of taking their life or experiencing those thoughts and feelings. I think there needs to be much more awareness and much more education in schools as well because as statistics today have shown, young people are especially at risk of taking their own lives.”