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WHO addresses global suicide prevention, after noting 800,000 in 2016


With nearly 800,000 people dying by suicide every year, the World Health Organization on Monday provided tools and strategies to address the trend.

In advance of World Suicide Prevention Day Monday, the United Nations agency released a 99-page guide on the role of communities in averting suicide.

Released in conjunction with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the report said suicide was second-leading cause of death among people aged 15-29 in 2016.

Almost four-fifths of suicides worldwide are in low- to middle-income countries, the report said. It added that pesticide self-poisoning in rural agricultural areas account for about 20 percent of all suicides. Hanging and firearms are also common methods, the report found.

The WHO noted a well-established link between suicide and mental health issues in higher-income countries, but said many are impulsive and occur in moments of crisis.

“There are indications that for each adult who dies of suicide there may be more than 20 others attempting suicide,” the report said.

The report said communities can play a critical role in suicide prevention by offering social support to vulnerable individuals. They can also contribute a sense of belonging and a feeling of connection. Communities can also implement specific suicide prevention strategies relevant to their situations, WHO experts said.