A report published by the World Health Organization – WHO dated in September gives a worldwide overview of suicide “epidemic”. This report summarizes in five points:
- Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year.
- For every suicide, there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds.
- 79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
It is a relevant bioethical issue we had treated in different articles (see HERE). One of them titled Suicide rates increased in almost every U.S. state. A new paradigm shift is needed focuses on recent American official data. It concluded that despite innovative approaches in both psychiatric treatments and suicide prevention, some important shortcomings seem to have a role in impairing effective progress in reducing deaths by suicide. A paradigm shift is needed that should focus on the assessment of suicide risk on the centrality of the mental pain in suicidal individuals.
Suicide rates among adolescents
In this sense, a recent LANCET’s article titled Rising suicide rates among adolescents in England and Wales affirms “There are concerns that the incidence of affective disorder and self-harm is rising among adolescents. Whether this rise reflects an increase in population prevalence is unclear. The apparent increase could indicate a greater willingness to discuss such issues, and better recognition of mental health difficulties by referring clinicians, rather than increases in morbidity.” It concludes “Research is urgently needed to clarify whether recent trends reflect a real deterioration in adolescent mental health and, if so, the key drivers of this change. Such research will facilitate the identification of novel targets for treatment and prevention. Furthermore, young people’s mental health services need enhanced funding to adequately support the increasing numbers of young people seeking help. According to the England National Office of Statistics, the suicide rate in England and Wales has increased by 7.9% per year between 2010 and 2017. The increase varies according to sex. In men, the rate increased by 5.9% per year between 2009 and 2017. Between 2013 and 2017, the suicide rate in women increased by 13.2% per year” (see more HERE).
The last WHO report (2 September 2019) on the issue, cited above, concluded “that the suicide mortality rate is an indicator of target 3.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals: by 2030, to reduce by one-third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being” (read entire WHO report).