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One person dies every 40 seconds from suicide, WHO says

CNN logo CNN 9/9/2019 By Katie Hunt, CNN

In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week, MSN is supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and its work to help people in crisis. Please make a gift to this important cause here. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

a close up of a logo: GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 12: A man suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder uses a light box in his office to combat the illness on October 12 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression, is a mood disorder related to the change in the seasons and the resulting reduction of exposure to daylight. The end of British Summer time, when clocks go back one hour at the end of October, will see most people making their daily commute in darkness both ways. With winter nights stretching to 19 hours in the UK, and Scotland's often inclement weather, it is estimated that the 'Winter Blues' can affect up to 20% of the population. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) © Courtesy of Christopher Furlong/Getty Images GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 12: A man suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder uses a light box in his office to combat the illness on October 12 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression, is a mood disorder related to the change in the seasons and the resulting reduction of exposure to daylight. The end of British Summer time, when clocks go back one hour at the end of October, will see most people making their daily commute in darkness both ways. With winter nights stretching to 19 hours in the UK, and Scotland's often inclement weather, it is estimated that the 'Winter Blues' can affect up to 20% of the population. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) The number of people worldwide who die from suicide is declining but one person still kills themselves every 40 seconds, according to new figures from the World Health Organization, which said countries needed to do more to stop these preventable deaths.

Between 2010 and 2016, the global suicide rate decreased by 9.8%, the UN health body said in its second report on the issue. The only region to see an increase was the Americas.

"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," said WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

WHO said close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year, more than those lost to malaria, breast cancer, or war and homicide, calling it a "serious global public health issue." It said only 38 countries had suicide prevention strategies.

Suicide rates were higher than the global, age-standardized average -- 10.5 per 100,000 people -- in Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Depressed woman STOCK © Shutterstock Depressed woman STOCK Worldwide, more men killed themselves than women, WHO said, with 7.5 suicide deaths per 100,000 women and 13.7 suicides per 100,000 men. The only countries where the suicide rate was estimated to be higher in women than men were Bangladesh, China, Lesotho, Morocco, and Myanmar.

"While 79% of the world's suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries, high-income countries had the highest rate, at 11.5 per 100,000" people, WHO said.

"Nearly three times as many men as women die by suicide in high-income countries, in contrast to low- and middle-income countries, where the rate is more equal," the WHO statement said.

"Suicide was the second-leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years, after road injury. Among teens aged 15-19 years, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among girls (after maternal conditions) and the third-leading cause of death in boys, after road injury and interpersonal violence."

WHO said one way to bring down the global suicide rate would be to limit access to pesticides, which -- along with hanging and firearms -- are the most common method of suicide. For example, in Sri Lanka, a series of bans on highly hazardous pesticides led to a 70% decrease in suicides, saving an estimated 93,000 lives from 1995 and 2015. Similarly, in South Korea, a ban on the herbicide paraquat was followed by a 50% decrease in suicide deaths from pesticide poisoning from 2011-2013.

a close up of a building: The owners of Govin's farm lost a family member to suicide in January. © Govin's Farm The owners of Govin's farm lost a family member to suicide in January. Other steps the WHO said have helped reduce suicides include educating the media on how to report responsibly on suicide, identifying people at risk early and helping young people build skills that help them cope with life stresses.

World suicide prevention day is September 10.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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