Every year close to 800,000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds globally in 2015. It does not just occur in high-income countries, but is a global phenomenon in all regions of the world. In fact, over 78% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015.
Suicide is a serious public health problem; however, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions.
While the link between suicide and mental disorders is well established in high-income countries, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness.
Suicides are preventable. There are a number of measures to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. These include reducing access to the means of suicide; reporting by media in a responsible way; early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress; training of non-specialised health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour; follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support.
Suicide is a complex issue and therefore suicide prevention efforts require coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of society, including the health sector and other sectors such as education, labour, agriculture, business, justice, law, defense, politics, and the media. These efforts must be comprehensive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact on an issue as complex as suicide.