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Each year, one million people kill themselves in the world, while one of every 20 suicide attempts is successful, warned the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), as part of World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10.

Suicide is among the three leading causes of death in people 15 to 44 years. WHO estimates that by 2020, the number of these events will grow by 50 percent to reach 1.5 million deaths per year. Even worse, suicide rates among young people have been increasing so markedly that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of the world's countries.

World Day for Prevention of Suicide began in 2003 as an effort to improve education about suicide, disseminate information, and reduce stigmatization. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to increase awareness that suicide is preventable. The theme chosen this year is "Suicide Prevention in Dfferent Cultures," a reminder that suicide is influenced by cultural, religious, legal, historical, philosophical and traditional factors, and that all these contexts must be taken into account when addressing suicide prevention.

According to WHO, most suicides can be prevented. The Organization advises reducing access to means of suicide (eg pesticides, drugs, firearms), treating people with mental disorders--particularly those with depression, alcoholism or schizophrenia,--tracking patients who tried to kill themselves, training of primary health care professionals, and promoting responsible treatment of the topic in the media.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2009 08:36

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