The World Health Organization on Monday urged countries to do more to prevent suicides even as the global suicide rate fell slightly.
“Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Every death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues. Yet suicides are preventable.”
He called on “all countries to incorporate proven suicide prevention strategies into national health and education programs in a sustainable way.”
From 2010 to 2016, the global suicide rate fell by nearly 10% to 10.5 per 100,000 people. However, the number of deaths remained stable due to population growth.
In the western Pacific, rates fell by nearly 20%, while in Guyana the rate topped more than 30 per 100,000, making it the highest in the world.
Germany in focus
The average suicide rate in Germany was about 9 out of 100,000 people. However, males drove that figure higher, with a rate of 13.6 out of 100,000 people compared to 4.8 for women in 2016.
Earlier this year, churches in Germany announced new initiatives to bring further awareness to suicide prevention.
The WHO said the gap between male and female rates is evident in nearly all countries. It is also the second-leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds, according to the WHO.
According to experts, nearly 70% of suicides are associated with depression, during which people struggling may withdraw from social and personal relationships.
World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) is a call for doctors, hospitals, support groups and everyday people to counter the stigma and do more to help people before it is too late.