Working together to prevent suicide

World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, is a day for us to unite in our efforts to raise awareness and mobilize people around the world about mental health. The theme selected for this year’s Day is suicide prevention, and the role that everyone can play to prevent it.

Around 800,000 people die due to suicide each year worldwide, and many more attempt suicide. In the Region of the Americas, almost 100,000 people die by suicide each year. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects a family, a community or a whole country; and it has long time consequences in all those who are close to the victim. Suicide occurs in every age group, and it is the second leading cause of death in young people aged 15-29 years.

This World Mental Health Day continues the campaign initiated last 10 September, on World Suicide Prevention Day, to raise awareness about the impact of suicide in the world and the role that each of us can play to prevent it.

40 seconds of action

Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide worlwide. On this year’s World Mental Health Day, in addition to events and activities taking place on or around 10 September, WHO is encouraging everyone to get involved by taking “40 seconds of action” in order to:

  • improve awareness of the significance of suicide as a global public health problem;
  • improve knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide;
  • reduce the stigma associated with suicide; and
  • let people who are struggling know that they are not alone.

Click on the flyer below to find out how you can take part

Download the brochure

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Technical Resources

Virtual course on Preventing Self-harm/suicide: Empowering Primary Health Care providers

PAHO has developed an online course based on the suicide module of the WHO mhGAP Intervention Guide- which offers high quality foundational knowledge and practice to non-specialized health workers, to enhance their capacity to identify, assess, manage and provide follow up to people with suicidal behaviors. The course is self-paced and free, and it is available on the PAHO Virtual Campus for Public Health (VCPH) platform, prioviding both flexibility and accessibility to potential learners.

 Access the course by clicking on the image below or in the following link.

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Featured story

Changing journalistic coverage of suicide in Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin American journalists are redefining how they communicate about suicide. For many years, cases of suicide have been treated as a spectacle in the media or they have been silenced for fear of “contagion”. However, responsible coverage can contribute to suicide prevention by reducing the risk of copycat behavior, helping to change false perceptions, and encouraging people to seek help.

PAHO has been conducting virtual and on-site training on the subject. In 2017, more than 130 journalists, communicators, and mental health professionals from 30 countries in the Region participated in an online workshop. Health ministries, together with PAHO country offices, also organized meetings to promote responsible coverage in their countries. These included Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay, among others.

Learn more about this experiences at Changing journalistic coverage of suicide in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Communication Materials

Click on the images to download them

Myths about suicide

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Mental health

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