A report with disturbing implications was released this week by the World Health Organization indicating that suicide claims close to one million lives each year, and that this figure could rise to 1.5 million by 2020. The report also noted that suicide kills more people each year than road traffic accidents in most European countries, and that worldwide, suicide claims more lives than homicide and warfare combined. The report was released in anticipation of World Suicide Prevention Day, which happens to fall on September 10 this year. The report also contains suicide rates for different parts of the world, including the finding that the highest rates are found in Eastern Europe, and that the rates tend to be relatively low in Muslim countries. Not surprisingly, firearms tend to be the preferred instruments of suicide, primarily due to the fact that "few people survive attempts to shoot themselves." On a slightly more upbeat note, Lars Mehlum, the president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention commented this week that suicide "…is largely preventable if the public is made more aware of the problem and governments show the political will to tackle it."
The first link leads to a news report from MSNBC about the report on suicide issued by the World Health Organization this week. The second link will take visitors to additional coverage of this subject from this Wednesday's New Scientist online edition. The third link leads to the homepage of the International Association for Suicide Prevention where visitors can learn about the group's activities and also about World Suicide Prevention Day. The fourth link leads to a very thorough site on suicide prevention created by the World Health Organization. Here visitors can read suicide reports on many countries around the world, learn about advocacy efforts, and look over empirical research on the subject of suicide. The fifth link will take visitors to the very pragmatic and helpful site created by the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention program (contained within the Department of Health & Human Services) that offers a number of resources for suicide prevention and numerous materials in Spanish and English. On a related note, the sixth link leads to a recent report from National Public Radio on current genetic research that is helping reveal what causes depression and what the best options for treating this condition may be. The final link provides a brief outline of Emile Durkheim's famous study of suicide that may pique visitors' interest in this emotional and sensitive topic.