The information here is provided by courtesy of the Network's short online course - "An Introduction to Global Health".
Taking the world as a whole, the share of deaths from injuries has hardly changed over the last 30 years having been 9% in 1990 and 8% in 2017.
The main injuries causing of death are from road traffic accidents.
Suicides are the second most important cause of death from injury. (Table 1)
Deaths from Injuries, 2017
Source : Our world in Data
- There are around 800,000 suicides in the world each year.
- 79% of suicides occur in Low- and Middle-income countries.
There is wide variation in rates across the world (Map 1)
- It is the third leading cause of death in 15 – 19 year olds, though the death rates are higher in older age group - around 27/100,000 in people over 70 years compared to around 12/100,000 in the 15 - 49 year age group.
- The rate for men is around twice that for women.
Methods of suicide
It is estimated that around 20% of world suicide deaths are from pesticides, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas of low- and middle-income countries.
Other common methods are hanging and firearms. Knowledge of the most common method is important when considering preventive measures.
For every suicide there are more than 20 attempts. A previous attempt at suicide is the single most important risk factor in the population.
- Suicide rates are high in vulnerable groups who experience discrimination, such as refugees and migrants, indigenous people and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex person and in prisoners.
- Many suicides happen impulsively with life stresses such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness.
- There is also a link between suicide and mental disorders.
Prevention and Control
Preventive interventions will reduce suicide rates.
There are a number of measures that can be taken at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. These include:
- reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications)
- reporting by media in a responsible way
- school-based interventions
- introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol
- early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress
- training of non-specialized 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,
Few countries have suicide prevention in their health priorities and only 38 countries have a national suicide prevention strategy.
WHO produced a World Suicide Report in 2014 and a Mental Health Action Plan 2013 – 2020. Suicide mortality rate is an indicator of target 3.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
WHO : Suicide data
WHO: Preventing suicide: A global imperative
WHO : WHP Mental Health Gap Action Programme
WHO : Mental health action plan 2013 – 2020
WHO : Preventing Suicide: a resource series
WHO : Suicide prevention – Tools