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Who: Suicide Leading Cause of Death Worldwide


The World Health Organization says suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, and one of the three leading causes of death for young people under 25. To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, which falls on September 10, the World Health Organization says there are measures people and society can take to save thousands of people from meeting a self-inflicted violent death.

The World Health Organization reports every year, about one million people die by suicide. That comes to around 3,000 deaths a day or one death every 40 seconds.

In the past 45 years, the World Health Organization says suicide rates have increased by 60 percent worldwide and it predicts these deaths will rise to 1.5 million by 2020.

It says suicide deaths account for more than half of all violent deaths in the world - more than all deaths from wars and homicides combined. Almost a quarter of suicides are teenagers and young adults aged less than 25.

The World Health Organization says more men than women commit suicide, but more women than men attempt to commit suicide.

Scientific eExpert in WHO's Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department, Alexandra Fleischmann says risk factors vary in different cultures.

"For instance, we know that mental illness disorders like depression or alcohol use disorders play a major role in European countries, for instance," said Alexandra Fleischmann. "But, we have to also look at Asian countries where impulsiveness plays a much more important role, which is that suicide can happen on the spur of the moment."

The agency notes cultural differences, views and attitudes toward suicide influence whether people will attempt suicide and whether suicides will be accurately reported

The WHO report says most suicides in occur in Asia, which accounts for up to 60 percent of all cases.

But it reports Eastern European countries have the highest rates of suicide. The lowest rates are found in the countries of Mediterranean Europe and the predominantly Catholic countries of Latin America and Asia, as well as in Muslim countries, such as Pakistan.

The World Health Organization says suicide can be prevented. It says educating communities to better identify people at risk of suicide and encouraging those at risk to seek help can reduce suicides among people with mental illness.

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