Recent figures published in a report by WHO highlights the extent to which suicide is a “major health problem”, with somebody taking their life every 40 seconds.
Data collected from 10 years of research on suicide from around the world found that 800,000 people kill themselves every year.
Furthermore, suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people, aged 15 to 29, and those most likely to take their own lives are aged 70 and above.
In light of these shocking figures, the WHO are calling for measures to help reduce suicide by 10% by 2020.
Currently only 28 countries have a national suicide prevention strategy, and campaigners are calling for more education in schools to help tackle the number of deaths by suicide.
The biggest hurdle in reducing suicide rates is considered to be the taboo surrounding this issue. This is something that Dr Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organisation, is all too aware of.
Speaking of the report she said: “[It] is a call for action to address a large public health problem, which has been shrouded in taboo for far too long.”
It is strongly believed that the social stigma attached to mental health issues is the main reason why many people don’t get the help they need, and ultimately causes them to consider suicide.
The WHO is therefore urging countries all across the world to take simple measures to provide more support to those in need of help.
Dr Alexandra Fleischmann, a scientist in the department of mental health and substance abuse at WHO, said: “No matter where a country currently stands in suicide prevention, effective measures can be taken, even just starting at local level and on a small-scale.”
Campaigners are pushing to raise public awareness of suicide as they believe this will encourage more people to interact with those who may be experiencing suicidal feelings and thoughts.