One person takes their own life every 40 seconds across the world, and more people die by suicide every year than in war, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
The organization revealed the most common suicide methods to be Hanging, poisoning and shooting.
It urged governments to implement plans for suicide prevention to assist individuals to deal with stress and decrease access to means of suicide.
Global suicide rates
According to the new report, a total of 800,000 people die by suicide each year.
Health officials in the US are urging tighter gun control measures to limit access to lethal means, while the report cites bans on pesticides people use to poison themselves as key to reductions of suicides by as much as 70%.
“Suicide is a global public health issue. All ages, sexes, and regions of the world are affected (and) each loss is one too many,” the WHO’s report said.
It was the second leading cause of death among young people aged between 15 and 29, following road injury.
Suicide is also the second biggest killer among adolescent girls aged between 15 and 19 after maternal conditions, while it’s ranked third for teenage boys after road injury and interpersonal violence.
“Overall, close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year – more than are killed by malaria or breast cancer, or by war or homicide,” the WHO said.
Global rates have fallen in recent years – with a 9.8 percent decrease between 2010 and 2016 – but declines were patchy.
In the WHO’s Americas region, for example, rates rose by 6% between 2010 and 2016.
The report also found that nearly three times as many men as women die by suicide in wealthy countries, in contrast to low – and middle-income countries, where the rates are more equal.
“Suicides are preventable,” said the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“We call on all countries to incorporate proven suicide prevention strategies into national health and education programs,” he added.
In the US, recent research from Ohio State University found that suicide rates have increased by as much as 40% since 1999.
People living rural, poor counties or in urban areas with a high density of gun stores have the highest rates and have seen the sharpest increases.
US health experts called for better gun control measure to limit the access people with suicidal thoughts have to lethal means, echoing the WHO reports recognition of pesticide bans as an effective way to cut rates.
The report comes in coincidence with World Suicide Prevention Day, which is observed annually on 10 September.
The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003.