Nearly one million people around the world die each year from suicide,1 and suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 29 year-olds.2 Suicide is the 15th leading cause of death for all age groups.3 Globally, one person dies by their own hand every 40 seconds and suicide accounts for 1.8% of the total global deaths.4 Additionally, global suicide rates have increased by over 60% in the past four decades.5
The majority of suicides, about 75%, occur in low and middle-income countries.6 The countries with the highest rates of suicide are Lithuania (31 suicides per 100,000 people), South Korea (28.1), Guyana (26.4 per 100,000). Kazakstan (25.6 per 100,000 people), Slovenia (21.8 per 100,000), Hungary (21.7 per 100,000), Japan (21.4 per 100,000) Sri Lanka (21.3 per 100,000), Latvia (20.7 per 100,000), Belarus (20.5 per 100,000).7
Traditionally, the group most at risk for suicide has been elderly men; however, in recent years the number of youth suicides has increased rapidly and youth are the group most at risk for suicide in nearly a third of the world.8 Mental health disorders are associated with 90% of all suicide cases, particularly depression and substance abuse.9 Other factors that increase an individual's risk of suicide include crises such as the loss of a family member, the loss of a job, and abuse and discrimination based on one's sexual orientation.10 In fact, LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior due to bullying and discrimination and the rejection of their sexual identity by family members.11 LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and LGBTQ individuals who are rejected by their families are eight times more likely to commit suicide than their LGBTQ peers who come from accepting families.12 Additionally, suicide rates among African-American and Hispanic youth are twice as high as the suicide rates of white youth.13 Women are more likely to commit suicide than men, but men are more likely to die from suicide than women.14
Effective suicide prevention measures recommended by the World Health Organization include the responsible reporting of suicide and the avoidance of stories that sensationalize suicides or provide detailed accounts.15 Additionally, the early identification and treatment of depression and substance abuse can significantly reduce the rates of suicide in at-risk individuals.16Show References
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