Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Many more attempt suicide. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally.
Suicide is a global phenomenon; in fact, 79% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2016. Suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 18th leading cause of death in 2016.There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.
What you should know if you are worried about someone
- Suicides are preventable.
- It is okay to talk about suicide.
- Asking about suicide does not provoke the act of suicide. It often reduces anxiety and helps people feel understood.
Warning signs that someone may be seriously thinking about suicide
- Threatening to kill oneself.
- Saying things like "No-one will miss me when I am gone."
- Looking for ways to kill oneself, such as seeking access to pesticides, firearms or medication, or browsing the internet for means of taking one’s own life.
- Saying goodbye to close family members and friends, giving away of valued possessions, or writing a will.
Who is at risk of suicide?
- People who have previously tried to take their own life.
- Someone with depression or an alcohol or drug problem.
- Those who are suffering from severe emotional distress, for example following the loss of a loved one or a relationship break-up.
- People suffering from chronic pain or illness.
- People who have experienced war, violence, trauma, abuse or discrimination.
- Those who are socially isolated.
What you can do
- Find an appropriate time and a quiet place to talk about suicide with the person you are worried about. Let them know that you are there to listen.
- Encourage the person to seek help from a professional, such as a doctor, mental health professional, counsellor or social worker. Offer to accompany them to an appointment.
- If you think the person is in immediate danger, do not leave him or her alone. Seek professional help from the emergency services, a crisis line, or a health-care professional, or turn to family members.
- If the person you are worried about lives with you, ensure that he or she does not have access to means of self-harm (for example pesticides, firearms or medication) in the home.
- Stay in touch to check how the person is doing.
Remember, if you know someone who may be considering suicide, talk to them about it. Listen with an open mind and offer your support.
Source: World Health Organisation