The report found that suicide was a ‘major public health problem’ that is too often kept quiet because of the associated social stigma.
The WHO announced they hope to reduce the rate of suicide by 10 per cent by 2020, but warned the process will be difficult especially when only 28 countries have a national suicide prevention strategy.
Campaigners have pointed to the need for more education in school surrounding the taboo issue.
The startling report found:
- Around 800,000 people kill themselves every year
- It was the second leading cause of death in young people, aged 15 to 29
- Those over 70 were the most likely to take their own lives
- Three-quarters of these deaths were in low and middle income countries
- In richer countries, three times as many men as women die by suicide
- Limiting access to firearms and toxic chemicals was shown to reduce the rates of suicide.
“This report is a call for action to address a large public health problem, which has been shrouded in taboo for far too long,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO’s director general.
Unfortunately, the social stigma surrounding mental health issues is know to stop people seeking help and ultimately lead to suicide.
Reporting of suicide by the media has also come under fire by the WHO, after details were revealed of the suicide death of Hollywood icon Robin Williams.
More support is needed for people who have previously attempted suicide, the most at-risk group.