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A person dies from suicide every 40 seconds, World Health Organization says


Every 40 seconds, a person dies from suicide.

While there has been an increase of suicide prevention strategies in countries around the world over the last five years, the World Health Organization said Monday that the 38 countries with measures in place “is still far too few” a number and called for action ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10.

“Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide, ”WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement. “Every death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues. Yet suicides are preventable. We call on all countries to incorporate proven suicide prevention strategies into national health and education programs in a sustainable way.”

In young people aged 15 to 19, suicide is the second leading cause of death, following road injury, the WHO said.

Although 79% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries, the WHO said high-income countries had the highest incidence rates, with 11.5 suicides per 100,000 people.

The WHO’s announcement comes just a day before the organization launches a partnership with the World Federation for Mental Health, the Internal Association for Suicide Prevention and United for Global Mental Health for the the “40 seconds of action" campaign.

On World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10 — which will focus on suicide prevention this year — the WHO encourages people to take 40 seconds to take actions that help prevent suicide as part of the “40 seconds of action."

Starting conversations surrounding mental health, employers or managers sending messages to employees about available mental health resources, and political figures communicating about actions being taken to prevent suicide and highlighting the 40-second statistic are all ideas the WHO shared for World Mental Health Day as part of the campaign.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal tendencies, call 1-800-273-8255.