Mental Health infographic. Image from iStock
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#MentalHealth Matters!

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) newest estimates, suicide remains one of the top causes of death globally. Suicide causes more deaths each year than HIV, malaria, breast cancer, war, and homicide combined. More than 700,000 people died by suicide in 2019, accounting for one out of every 100 fatalities, prompting WHO to issue new advice to assist nations to enhance suicide prevention.

“Each one is a tragedy. Our attention to suicide prevention is even more important now, after many months living with the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of the risk factors for suicide - job loss, financial stress and social isolation – still very much present. The new guidance that WHO is releasing today provides a clear path for stepping up suicide prevention efforts” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. 

Although some countries have made suicide prevention a priority, far too many others have not. Only 38 nations are known to have a national plan for suicide prevention. To reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving a one-third decrease in the worldwide suicide rate by 2030, a considerable acceleration in suicide prevention is required.


WHO is publishing detailed advice for implementing its LIVE LIFE strategy to suicide prevention today to aid nations in their efforts. The following are the four methods used in this approach:
  • limiting access to the means of suicide, such as highly hazardous pesticides and firearms;
  • educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide;
  • fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents; and
  • early identification, assessment, management and follow-up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

Anyone, whether at the national or local level, in the governmental or non-governmental sectors, can implement the prevention recommendations. 

The full article from the WHO can be found here.