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global suicide rates | WHO | author | terezia farkas | depression help

Globally, each year the number of lives lost by suicide is more than the number of deaths from homicide and war combined. Every stat is a person. Here are some stunning global suicide rates.

  • Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide; this is roughly one death every 40 seconds.
  • Suicide is the fifth leading causes of death among those aged 30-49 years.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15-29 years age group.
  • Overall, it is estimated that for every adult who dies of suicide there are over 20 others who will make a suicide attempt.

The psychological pain that makes a person take his or her life is unimaginable. Suicide is sometimes the only release from pain the person sees. Suicide is complex. It involves psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors. One can never assume that only one factor caused the person to choose suicide. 

  • In 2012, suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 15th leading cause of death.
  • Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and North America; however, in Asian countries impulsiveness plays an important role.

Connectedness is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. Studies have shown that social isolation can increase the risk of suicide. The more isolated one feels, the more appeal suicide may have. Strong human bonds can be protective against suicide. Reaching out to someone who has become disconnected from others and offering the person support and friendship may be a life-saving act.

  • The WHO World Suicide Report “Preventing Suicide: A global imperative” follows the adoption of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 by the World Health Assembly.  The target is to reduce the rate of suicide in countries by 10% by 2020.
  • The World Suicide Report “Preventing Suicide: A global imperative” is the most comprehensive, up-to-date record of the current status of suicide prevention internationally.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has an interactive map on suicide rates in all countries. The interactive map looks at the number of men vs the number of women who suicide. 60 countries have good reporting methods on suicide. Other countries may not count suicides in their stats because of cultural taboos or being illegal. Only 28 countries have a national strategy for suicide prevention.

Every suicide stat is a person. Let’s help reduce suicide stats and save some lives! For more information, visit WHO suicide prevention.

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